– Duo pull 4 strokes ahead of the field
-Moving Day Three sees pre-tournament favourites spring back into contention
-Udayan Mane and Rahil Gangjee only two golfers with sub-par rounds on all three days
– Tournament wide open as six strokes separate the top 10
– Experienced finishers and proven winners in leading groups promise exciting final day
Ahmedabad based Udayan Mane, a six-time winner on the Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) and currently ranked 85thon the Asian Tour Habitat for Humanity Rankings, regained top spot on the leaderboard, this time with two-time Asian Tour winner Rashid Khan for company, after he shot a 1-under 69 for a total of 9-under 201, at the end of day three of the Louis Philippe Cup. Bengaluru’s Prestige Golfshire Club is hosting the USD 75,000 Asian Development Tour (ADT) and PGTI co-sanctioned event. The duo of Udayan and Rashid are currently 4-shots clear of the field.
Udayan who had set a course record 63 on day one along with Miguel Carballo to jointly lead the field, had yielded the advantage to the Argentine when he finished a stroke behind in the second position at the end of day two. On Thursday however, with strong winds from every possible direction continuing to frustrate and test the golfers to the hilt, Udayan registered his third sub-par round on the trot to regain the lead. The Argentine managed a 4-over 74 on the day to climb down two notches to lie in tied third position.
Speaking after his round Udayan said, “It was a very frustrating day for me. I hit well off the tee but my short game today tested me a lot. I had really good putts but most of them lipped out and that for sure frustrated me a lot. Luckily I have had such experiences and that helped me to a large extent. The round today has at least given me an idea about my game tomorrow and I hope to stick to my plan.”
Also finding the going tough was Delhi Golf Club’s Asian Tour regular and two-time winner of the PGTI Order of Merit, Rashid Khan. “The round was really good but the conditions were tough. The wind was the most difficult part today because it was really tough to control on the greens. I hit four consecutive birdies on the 14, 15, 16 and 17th holes and one bogey on the 9th. Hole 16 was the most challenging, as it required a longer shot to save par. Tomorrow’s game will be my own game and no strategy,” said the talented Rashid, who after beginning slowly has bounced right back into contention with a fluent 64 (6-under) on day two, followed up by a 3-under 67 on day three. Players like Rashid know how to close out tournaments and he will be one of the golfers to follow closely on the final day.
Local hope Khalin Joshi also joined Carballo in third position with a 1-over 71 on day three, tying with the Argentine on a score of 205, four behind from the leaders.
Five golfers are tied for the fifth spot on a score of 4-under 204. Prominent among them are pre-tournament favourites Rahil Gangjee of India and Australian Marcus Both. Also giving them the company was seasoned veteran, Mukesh Kumar.
Rahil, Marcus and Mukesh have a total of six Asian Tour titles between them and given the conditions, a slight slip up above and any of these three can use their experience and go for the kill. Rahil and Marcus both shot rounds of 68 (2-under) on Thursday while Mukesh returned an even par card.
In fact, Rahil joined Udayan to be the only two golfers to have registered sub-par rounds on all three days at the Prestige.
It was also heartening to see another Indian Asian Tour winner Digvijay Singh among the top 10 and in with a chance at what would be his 13thvictory in India, after a while. He carded a creditable 2-under on the day for a total of 207 and needs a super finish on the final day. Aadil Bedi, the 17-year old Asian Games bound young amateur from India, has also held his own, registering a 73 (1-over) on the day, his score of 210 (even par) putting him nine shots behind the leaders and in tied 17thposition.
Top Scores after Day Two
- Udayan Mane (IND)/Rashid Khan (IND)- 201 (-9)
- Miguel Carballo (ARG)/Khalin Joshi (IND) – 205 (-5)
- Rahil Gangjee (IND)/Marcus Both (AUS)/Om Prakash Chouhan (IND)/Mukesh Kumar (IND)/Sanjeev Kumar (IND)-206 (-4)