03 November 2018: On a day when the weather threatened to steal the limelight, S Chikkarangappa took matters into his own hands with a thrilling ride on the stretch home. The Bengaluru golfer will sleep on a two-stroke lead over Karandeep Kochhar after posting four straight birdies from the 12th hole. The young Kochhar showed plenty of maturity in scoring a hard-fought 70 to end the day at 10-under 206.
Jyoti Randhawa, a father figure to the current generation of golfers showed he still had the game to reckon with. He shot three birdies in his 71 to settle in the third spot at 8-under 208.
Chikkarangappa made back to back birdies at the 4th and 5th, but that advantage dissolved into the bogeys he made at the first and seventh holes. After reaching the twelfth at even for the day, Chikkarangappa put daylight between him and the field with a string of four birdies.
“I felt my experience of regularly playing in wet conditions on the Asian Tour paid off. I know how to keep myself calm in such stop and start situations. I have a certain routine for such conditions which I stuck to today.
“I had played 11 holes when the last weather stoppage was announced. When play resumed I felt energized and put together four birdies in a row. That came just at the right time for me. I also had a lucky break when I was in the trees on the 13th. Fortunately, I had a swing there and a little gap through which I could get to the green.
“Unlike the last two rounds, I converted all putts within the five-feet range today. I was also comfortable with my swing.
“A two-shot lead is not much of an advantage. Two bad swings can nullify that lead. so I have to keep striking it well and make those short putts. Karandeep will be a tough competitor as he is playing at home and has been playing well.”
At that stage, Chikkarangappa enjoyed a four-stroke lead over the field. Kochhar added to the intriguing day’s play by adding two quick birdies at 16& 17 to cut the deficit to two.
“I drove better than the previous two rounds today. My putter also came around on the back-nine as I sank a couple of birdies from a range of 10 to 15 feet. However, the highlight of my round was the way I fought back on the last seven holes to close the day with a two-under. That has given me a chance.
“I know I’ll have all the motivation to win tomorrow as my family and friends will be walking the course and supporting me. That will play to my advantage. I know this course well and if I play to my potential I know I can go low and stake my claim to the title.”
Udayan Mane was in front briefly, lifted by a hat-trick of birdies right after the turn. But a pair of bogeys derailed his charge and Mane settled for a 70. He is lying in the fourth spot with Aman Raj and Siddikur Rahman, who scored 70 and 71 respectively.
Shiv Kapur was two under through eight holes but he conceded bogeys at 9 & 10 to fall back to even par. The Delhi golfer needed to push from there to inch closer to the leaders but managed to add just another birdie at the 13th. He returned to the clubhouse with a 71 on his card, lying T7 with Sri Lankan stars Mithun Perera and N Thangaraja.
The men at the tail end of the top 10 through 54 holes were eight strokes behind the leader. Harendra Gupta, Yashas Chandra, Amardip Malik and M Dharma occupy T10 at 4-under 212.