Hyderabad, Feb 8 : Bengaluru’s M Dharma emerged as the man to beat on day three of the PGTI’s season-opener, the Rs. 40 lakh Golconda Masters Golf Championship Dharma, the joint halfway leader, carded a two-under-69 in the penultimate round to build a two-shot lead at 16-under-197 at the Hyderabad Golf Club (HGC) on Thursday.
The chasing pack at 14-under-199 featured some established names such as Bengaluru’s Chikkarangappa (70), Delhi’s Rashid Khan (68), Chandigarh’s Karandeep Kochhar (66), who shot the day’s joint lowest score and rookie Priyanshu Singh (68) of Gurugram, the 2019 PGTI Qualifying School champion who is playing only his second professional event.
M Dharma (64-64-69), a two-time winner on the PGTI who finished tied fifth at the Golconda Masters last year, set himself up for his first win since December 2017 with a hard-earned 69 in the third round.
The 32-year-old recovered well after his early bogey on the fifth with birdies in quick succession on the eighth, 10th and 11th. On the eighth and 11th he landed it within a foot to set up tap-ins.
Dharma, who has been extremely consistent with his ball-striking this week, added another birdie on the 15th where he missed his second eagle putt of the day by a fraction. He then found the water hazard on the 17th to slip back to two-under for the day.
The man with two top-10s on the Asian Tour last year finally signed off with a brilliant 10-foot par putt on the 18th, his longest conversion of the day.
Among the four names bunched in tied second, rookie Priyanshu Singh (67-64-68) had the most fascinating day. The 22-year-old was three-over through the first seven holes but then produced a magical spell of six birdies between the eighth and the 15th, including four on the trot, to end up with a 68 and gain two positions from his overnight tied fourth.
Chikkarangappa (65-64-70), also in tied second, too had a contrasting front-nine and back-nine. He was three-over at the turn and then rallied with a four-under in the second half to stay in the contest.
Bengaluru’s Khalin Joshi (68) and defending champion Udayan Mane (67) of Ahmedabad were placed sixth at 13-under-200 and seventh at 12-under-201 respectively.
Patna’s Aman Raj, the joint round two leader, slipped to tied eighth at 11-under-202 after a third round of 74.
Noida’s Gaurav Pratap Singh, who shot a course record 61 on day two, dropped four places after a 71 to join Aman Raj and Delhi’s Honey Baisoya in tied eighth.
Gurugram’s Digvijay Singh made a hole-in-one on the 11th during his round of 67. He was placed tied 26th at four-under-209. UNI