Edited by Anand Datla
Mumbai, December 5, 2014: Bangalore’s C Muniyappa fired a hole-in-one en route his course record score of nine-under-61 to seize the third round lead at the Rs. 1 crore CG Open, the penultimate event of the 2014 PGTI Super Series, being played at the Bombay Presidency Golf Club. Muniyappa, a former Indian Open champion, emerged a top contender for the title after his third round effort that moved his total to 14-under-196. Defending champion Chikkarangappa, who also hails from Bangalore, came up with a 64 on Friday to be one shot off the lead in second place.
C Muniyappa (69-66-61) fired a blistering nine-under-61 to shatter the previous course record of 63 that was jointly held by Rashid Khan, Angad Cheema, Md Zamal Hossain Mollah, Ashok Kumar, Rafick Ali Mollah, Karanjit Singh Sandhu and Gurbaaz Mann.
Muniyappa, who began the day in tied sixth place, looked in ominous form from the very outset as he birdied the first and third and followed that up with a chip-in from the bunker for eagle on the fourth. He then delivered the first hole-in-one of the tournament with an exceptional six-iron tee shot on the eighth to pocket a sum of Rs. 1 lakh.
The soft-spoken 37-year-old continued to march ahead on the back-nine as he converted a 30-footer for birdie on the 17th and picked up three more strokes from a range of seven to 10 feet. Muniyappa, who won his last title at the 2009 Indian Open, dropped a lone bogey on the 15th.
“Everything seemed to fall in place today be it my hitting, chipping or putting. This wasn’t the case in the first two rounds. I putted poorly in round one and didn’t hit too many regulations in round two. I also saved par with some good putts on three to four holes. I made a tough eagle chip-in from the bunker on the fourth and followed it up with an exceptional six-iron tee shot for hole-in-one on the eighth,” said Muniyappa, currently lying 14th in the Rolex Rankings.
He added, “I’m delighted to have the course record in my name. I knew something big was around the corner as I’ve been firing low scores consistently in the last one month. I’ve also had three top-5 finishes in recent months.”
Chikkarangappa (67-66-64), who was overnight tied fourth, stayed on course to defend his title with a 64 in round three. Chikka sank two 20-footers for birdies and converted from 30 feet for eagle on the closing 18th. He also landed it within a few inches of the pin for a tap-in birdie on the 12th.
Chikka said, “I felt I got into my rhythm with the bogey-free 66 on day two. I knew I could go lower today. It was great to close the day with an eagle. I hit a massive drive of about 340 yards on the 18th that set up the eagle.”
Lucknow’s Sanjay Kumar, the overnight joint leader dropped to third at 12-under-198 after a 68 on Friday. He mixed an eagle and four birdies with two bogeys and a double-bogey.
Abhijit Singh Chadha of Chandigarh submitted a card of 63 to move up from tied 13th to tied fourth. Chadha landed his wedge shots within a foot for eagle on the fourth and birdie on the 16th.
Mukesh Kumar of Mhow posted a 67 to share fourth place with Abhijit at 11-under-199.
Delhi’s Kapil Kumar, who produced a run of six straight birdies in round one, came up with five straight birdies from the first to the fifth during his third round of 64. He shared sixth place with Delhi’s Shamim Khan at nine-under-201.
Om Prakash Chouhan of Mhow, the overnight joint leader, slipped to tied 10th at six-under-204 after a score of 74 in round three.
N Thangaraja of Sri Lanka also made a hole-in-one on Friday during his round of 72. Thangaraja, who fired the ace on the 13th, ended the day in tied 17th at three-under-207.
Leading Scores after Round 3:
196: C Muniyappa
197: Chikkarangappa S
198: Sanjay Kumar
199: Abhijit Singh Chadha, Mukesh Kumar