Oct 13, 2019: A disastrous back nine resulted in a sharp slip down the leaderboard for Shubhankar Sharma, who carded one-over-par 72 and dropped from tied-third to tied-13th at the end of the third round of the Italian Open, the fifth event in the European Tour’s Rolex Series.
Sharma’s fellow Indian, S.S.P. Chawrasia (75) also had a rough day and is now tied-65th.
American Kurt Kitayama, who has in the midst of a super season, during which he has already won twice shot a bogey free 65 to jump to 12-under-par and was one shot shy of England’s Matthew Fitzpatrick, who staged an impressive fightback with four birdies in his final six holes to maintain his one shot lead going into the final round.
Korea’s Wang Jeung-hun (64) rose to tied-seventh at eight-under-par, while Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee (71) was tied-28th, South Africa’s Justin Harding (73) tied-59th.
Sharma, who was playing very well in first two rounds, was two-under through the front nine after making up for a bogey on second with three birdies on the fourth, fifth and ninth holes.
On the back-nine he bogeyed 10 and 11 and just when it looked like he might make a par after a birdie on the par-3 16th, he bogeyed the par-five 17th and Par-four 18th to finish with a 72.
Kitayama, a one-time Asian Tour winner, who had six birdies including both the par-fives, was three under for either half and played solid.
He said, “It was a good day. I missed a few greens but was able to get up-and-down and made some good putts. Playing bogey-free is always good, especially out here.
“I feel like I’ve been in pretty good control of my irons. My driver today was better. This is a big event. Winning at any level, even smaller events, you still have to draw back on those memories and those situations, because the feeling is still going to be similar. Winning’s winning. So just go out and do the same tomorrow.”
Fitzpatrick has finished runner up three times so far this season and is seeking a sixth European Tour title to extend his winning run to five consecutive seasons.
He was one-over par for his third round with a further bogey on the tenth hole. But he rallied with birdies on the 13th, 15th, 16th and 17th holes to sign for a round of 68 to get to 13-under par.
Asian Tour Release
By V. Krishnaswamy