August 11, 2018: On an overcast day characterised by mild winds and grey clouds, Khalin Joshi produced one of the best rounds of his young career, forcing himself into contention with a spectacular 64. At 13-under through 54 holes, Khalin is lying one behind Argentine Miguel Carballo, who took advantage of overnight leader Danthai Boonma’s misery.
Boonma suffered two bogeys and a double over a four-hole stretch from the fifth to concede ground to the field. His five-stroke lead evaporated quickly as he slipped to three over on the front nine. The 22-year-old Thai ended the day in T2 with birthday boy Khalin.
Scott Vincent and Miguel Tabuena, both Asian Tour mainstays, shot 65 on Saturday to climb into a tie for the fifth position. The two are at 11-under 202, in a busy group at T6. Maverick Antcliff (70), SSP Chawrasia (68) and Honey Baisoya (66) are all in that group.
Viraj Madappa joined the party in T4 with S Chikkarangappa – the two making 66 and 68 respectively.
“It feels great. I played really well today. What’s more important is that I played bogey-free. That was my key, if I could go bogey-free all week, would be great. But let’s not be greedy and I’m happy with the way I played. I think I’m in a good position for tomorrow, so I’m really excited,” said Khalin.
“There’s a lot of golf still left, 18 holes to go. But I have put myself in a good position. That’s all I was expecting this week – to just give myself a fair chance going into Sunday and I think I have done that. So, looking forward to tomorrow and let’s hope that I come out victorious,” he added.
“I want to play my game tomorrow. I have played this golf course a lot. I want to play my own game and not look at anybody. I had set myself a target of 20-under and hopefully I can achieve it. Playing 7-under tomorrow will be great for me.”
On Saturday, Khalin was spotless. He shot five birdies in six holes from the 7th to set up his assault on the leaders. Birdies at four and fifteen helped him cushion his ride, as he surpassed the field to join Carballo into the final group for Sunday.
Viraj Madappa also left his best on the course. After a birdie on the fourth was offset by a bogey on the next hole, he navigated the front nine in an even 34 strokes.
He went under par for the round with a birdie at the eleventh hole, before surging up the order with birdies on four of the last five holes.
“It was good playing with Khalin and Honey. It felt like a local tour event because I have been playing with them,” explained Viraj. “I was just feeding off their energy, because in the front 9 they kept hitting good shots and kept making putts. I was just trying to keep up.
“I just told myself to just stay with Khalin because he got hot between 7 and 13 or 14. I was just telling myself that if you can keep up with him, you should be good. And I think I did a good job down the stretch.”
Chikkarangappa had a relatively quiet day compared to the 64 in the second round. Even though he made six birdies today, his round was also marred by a double at the 14th and a bogey at the fourth hole. A score of 68 was enough to leave him in T4 with Viraj.
Honey Baisoya had a memorable day not only in the context of the tournament but also from making a hole-in-one at the 8th hole.
“The hole-in-one felt amazing. It was the first hole-in-one of my life,” said Baisoya. “I was actually a little scared before the tee shot because that is not an easy hole to even make a birdie.
“I hit a really good shot and after that I just blacked out for a minute. I felt very happy.”
SSP Chawrasia’s nephew Sunit Chawrasia, playing in his first Asian Tour event has played well this week. He is in T15 with M Dharma, Aman Raj and Veer Ahlawat at 7-under 206.
Om Prakash Chouhan is in T11 at 204. Rising star Karandeep Kochhar is in 14th position one shot back.
Aadil Bedi continued to play well beyond his age. The amateur golfer, on his way to Indonesia for the Asian Games, played a well managed 69 to end the day in T25. His team mate for the Asian Games, Harimohan Singh is also in T25 at 5-under 208.
The tee times for the final round have been moved up. The action will kick off at 0650am with the final group going out at 0830am. With plenty of Indians in the mix, there is going to be a noisy gallery and some thrilling fare on offer this Sunday.