23 March 2019: Indian golfers continued to play musical chairs as the Maybank Championship entered its climactic stages. It was the turn of S Chikkarangappa to take on the role of the leading Indian in the field with a fine 68 on Saturday. Viraj Madappa made 70 as the two men reached Sunday at T22. Nacho Elvira rode a 66 to the top of the leaderboard, gaining a two-stroke advantage over David Lipsky. Kieffer Maxmilian, Jazz Janewattananond and Scott Hend are lying T3 at 10-under, three off the pace and just one behind Lipsky.
The difference between the two men at the top was all in the way they finished. While Lipsky slipped back to 11-under with a bogey at the 17th, Alvira pulled two clear with a pair of birdies to finish his round.
“The putter worked a bit better than yesterday, especially coming down the stretch. I’m very happy with a 66.
“It was tough with the heat and humidity today. I stayed patient and it paid off in the end.
“It would be great to start here (winning on the European Tour) but I really don’t think about it too much.
“I like the way things are right now with my swing. I like the way I’ve turned round my season a little bit. Let’s see what tomorrow brings.”
Chikkarangappa started his day with an eagle at the first and never really looked back. A birdie at the 7th meant that he went past the bend in just 33 strokes.
Chikka made a bogey at the par-4 10th hole, but it only served to punctuate a good run on the Palm Course inside the Saujana Golf & Country Club. Birdies at the 13th and 15th were good enough to secure a timely 68 and offer hope for a strong finish.
Keeping him company is Madappa, who combined five birdies with three bogeys to sign on a 70 on a patchy Saturday. To his credit, Madappa forced his way up the order with a couple of successive birdies at the very end, after being even on the day through 16 holes.
Shubhankar Sharma could not replicate the fluidity he showed on Friday but there was plenty of symmetry in his round of 74. He started and ended the day with birdies while the course squeezed a pair of bogeys out of him on either side.
SSP Chawrasia was four under through the 13th hole, but bogeys at the 14th and the 16th forced him to stay content with a 70 in an otherwise good round.