Bengaluru, June 26: Syed Saqib Ahmed threatened to wrest control of the Tata Steel Karnataka Amateur 2014, being played here at the Par – 72 Eagleton Golf Resort, but overnight leader Udayan Mane held strong and maintained his three stroke advantage with a three-under par 69 today and take his gross to ten-under par 206 going into the final round on the morrow.
Another local lad Jaibir Singh is placed third, six strokes behind at one-under par 215 after a second consecutive even par 72 round followed by Samarth Dwivedi, a further stroke behind in fourth. Kolkata’s 16-year-old Viraj Madappa shot a bogey free five-under par 67 for the day to make up for his disappointing six-over 78 yesterday and complete the top 5 tied with Jasjeet Singh at one-over-par 217 for the week.
Teeing off in the leader group, Udayan and Saqib were locked into a battle from the opening hole itself where Saqib gained a stroke with a birdie. Both made birdies on the Par 3 3rd hole before another birdie on the 6th for the former junior No. 1 closed the gap to one stroke. Scores were level when Udayan made a bogey on the very next hole to be tied at seven-under for the week. But he hit back immediately by hitting a birdie on the 8th to which Saqib duly responded with a birdie of his own on the 9th and go out tied for the top spot at eight-under par for the week. Once on the back nine, Udayan why he is No. 1 on the Order of Merit by making birdies on the 10th, 13th and 14th under pressure while dropping a solitary stroke on the 11th to close out at three-under 69. Meanwhile, Saqib could not gain any more strokes but made bogey on the 11th to be three strokes behind at the end of round 3.
Winner of the southern swing of the junior tour this year, Viraj made five birdies on his way to a round of five-under 67 for the day. He finished four-under on the Par 5 1st, 6th, 13th and 16th holes while his other birdie was on the Par 4 8th hole where he had a simple tap in.
Looking to complete a wire-to-wire victory, Udayan looked content and said “The front nine was really exciting with Saqib going all guns blazing but I had to focus on my game and eventually managed to pull clear on the back nine.” He added, “Tomorrow is a new day and hopefully I’ll be able to win in front of my home crowd.”
Top Scores (after 54 holes):
206 Udayan Mane (69,68,69); 209 Syed Saqib Ahmed (74,66,69); 215 Jaibir Singh (71,72,72); 216 Samarth Dwivedi (72,70,74); 217 Viraj Madappa (72,78,67), Jasjeet Singh (69,74,74); 218 Trishul Chinnappa (71,74,73), Gagan Verma (74,70,74); 219 Yashas Chandra (73,71,75), Yash Jindal (71,69,79)