Chirag Kumar retains lead at Panasonic Open

Even after some ordinary hitting and putting, if Chiragh Kumar finds himself atop the leader-board, his proactive approach has a lot to do with it. Though his overnight lead of three stands sliced to one, the local golfer knows only too well that things could have been worse on day three of the $400,000 Panasonic Open golf championship here on Saturday.

Leaving behind the horrors of a double-bogey on the opening hole, Chiragh carded a par round for a three-round tally of 11-under 205. Bangladesh’s Siddikur Rahman moved within a stroke of the leader following a bogey-free 68.   -  Sandeep Saxena

Even after some ordinary hitting and putting, if Chiragh Kumar finds himself atop the leader-board, his proactive approach has a lot to do with it. Though his overnight lead of three stands sliced to one, the local golfer knows only too well that things could have been worse on day three of the $400,000 Panasonic Open golf championship here on Saturday.

Leaving behind the horrors of a double-bogey on the opening hole, Chiragh carded a par round for a three-round tally of 11-under 205. Bangladesh’s Siddikur Rahman moved within a stroke of the leader following a bogey-free 68. S. Chikkarangappa also shot a 68 to join Bangladesh’s Zamal Hossain in the third spot at 208.

“Right now, I am glad the round is over. I was all over the place so I am happy with the score I came back with. I’ll take it as a positive,” was how Chiragh looked at the day’s effort.

Meanwhile, Thailand’s Sattaya Supurpramai noticed his name in the joint third place and realised he submitted a score of 68 (instead of 69). In keeping with the decorum of the sport, Sattaya promptly informed his manager, who in turn brought it to the notice of the Tournament Director. As per rules, for submitting a wrong score, Sattaya was disqualified.

On the final day, it appears to be anyone’s race. Chiragh will need to be more consistent. Siddikur is well-placed for the last-round charge. Chikkarangappa, fresh from winning the India Masters, an event on the Asian Development Tour, in Bengaluru on Friday last, is capable of handling the pressure. In fact, Chikkaranagappa had moved to the second spot during the day until his last-hole bogey pushed him back a bit.

Chiragh, three shots ahead of Sri Lanka’s Mithun Perera and five in front of Siddikur at the start of the round, opened with a double-bogey after hitting his tee-shot, a three-wood to the far left. Even his approach shot was poor and straightway the leader came under pressure.

But to the credit of Chiragh, he regained his composure and managed to birdie the third and eighth holes. On the back-nine, though Chiragh bogeyed the 11th hole, he found his fourth hat-trick of birdies in three days. At this stage, Chiragh led Siddikur by three shots.

With Chiragh dropping a shot on the 17th following a wayward tee-shot and Siddikur finding a birdie on the final hole from four feet, the gap between the two stood reduced to one.

The scores (Indians unless stated): Chiragh Kumar (67, 66, 72) 205, Siddikur Rahman (Ban) (68, 70, 68) 206; S. Chikkarangappa (69, 71, 68), Zamal Hossain (Ban) (67, 73, 68) 208; Thaworn Wiratchant (Tha) (68, 72, 69), Mithun Perera (Sri) (66, 70, 73) 209; Shubhankar Sharma (70, 73, 67), Vikrant Chopra (71, 68, 71) 210.

Other Indians: Rashid Khan (71, 71, 69), Sujjan Singh (71, 70, 71), Shankar Das (69, 71, 71) 211; Manav Jaini (72, 71, 69), Jyoti Randhawa (69, 72, 71) 212; Rahil Gangjee (70, 74, 69), Mukesh Kumar (70, 71, 72) 213; Khalin Joshi (69, 73, 72) 214; Abhishek Jha (71, 73, 71), Gaganjeet Bhullar (71, 73, 71), Feroz Ali (76, 70, 69), Sanjay Kumar (70, 71, 74) 215; Shamim Khan (72, 73, 71) 216; Deepinder Singh Kullar (70, 74, 73), Abhinav Lohan (72, 73, 72), Om Prakash Chouhan (71, 72, 74), Udyan Mane (77, 69, 71), Amardip Malik (71, 70, 76) 217; Ajeetesh Sandhu (72, 73, 73) 218; Abhijit Chadha (68, 77, 74), Anil Mane (74, 72, 73) 219; R. Murthy (75, 72, 73) 220; Rahul Bajaj (72, 72, 77) 221; Digvijay Singh (71, 76, 75) 222; Ashok Kumar (74, 73, 76) 223; Randhir Singh Ghotra (73, 74, 80) 227.

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