26 November 2022: Manu Gandas came through a topsy-turvy third round with another emphatic performance. The two-time Telangana Masters champion set the stage for a potential fifth win of the season. Angad Cheema kept it close to the final hole, where the fescue to the right of the fairway proved to be a tricky nemesis. At 18-under, Gandas has a one-stroke advantage over Cheema.
Overnight leader Om Prakash Chouhan took a 73 on his chin, reaching Sunday at 14-under.
Both Gandas and Cheema found themselves in the rough and were forced to layup with their second shots. Gandas did well to save par, making a 15 footer with steely calm. Cheema secured a par too and 67 on his card. Gandas, the first round leader, also shot 67 to regain control at the top of the leaderboard.
Harshjeet Singh Sethie and Gaurav Pratap Singh are tied in fourth place at 13-under 203. Kshitij Naveed Kaul will join them in the penultimate Sunday grouping, after making 69 to go 11-under 205.
Akshay Sharma had the best round of the day. He shot 66 to climb 15 spots on the leaderboard. Samarth Dwivedi, Arjun Puri and Arjun Bhati are all in T7 at 206.
The order of merit leader Yuvraj Singh Sandhu endured another tough round. He made five bogeys in a battling 73 sliding to five-under through three rounds.
Amardeep Malik, Sachin Baisoya and Ravi Kumar brought up the outside edge of the top ten at nine-under 207.
Gandas had three birdies on the way out and four on the way home for another rich collection on his card. Bogeys at three and eleven tempered his card to five-under for the day.
Cheema needed 36 strokes to make the turn, making birdies at five and seven, but conceding strokes on the sixth and ninth holes. He was supreme though on the home stretch collecting five birdies in seven holes for an impressive 67.
Manu, the top contender going into round four, said, “My driving and tee shots were the best part of my game today. I drove two par-4 greens today and took advantage of all the par-5s. I would say my iron-play was not up to the mark and I made some errors that could’ve been easily avoided.
“After an ordinary front-nine I had a far more encouraging back-nine today. It’s now about taking it one shot at a time and not looking too far ahead on the final day.”
Angad Cheema, currently 24th on the TATA Steel PGTI Rankings with three top-10s this season, will be the other main contender in the final round as he kept himself in the hunt with seven birdies and two bogeys on Saturday. Angad, who sank five of his birdies on the back-nine, made some exceptional chip-putts during round three.
Cheema, whose only win on the PGTI came in his rookie season back in 2013, said, “It was not one of my best days but I’m glad that I still managed to keep myself in contention. I got some momentum on the back-nine today which I will look to carry forward into the final round.”
Delhi’s Harshjeet Singh Sethie (68) and Noida’s Gaurav Pratap Singh (69) were placed tied fourth at 13-under 203.
Ajeetesh Sandhu (70), one of the top names in the field, was tied 18th at seven-under 209.
Fifteen-year-old Noida-based amateur Aarav D Shah (69), an Australian national, was placed tied 33rd at four-under 212.
Syed Saqib Ahmed was the lone card without a blemish on Saturday. He shot 67 and moved to 6-under into T23.