Indian Open: Chawrasia takes two-stroke lead

Defending champion Anirban Lahiri fired a bogey-free 67 to move within four strokes of Chawrasia and was joint third with Rashid Khan. Rahil Gangjee's 66 saw him share the fifth spot with three others at 207.

S.S.P. Chawrasia on his way to save par on the 10th hole in the third round of the Hero Indian Open in New Delhi on Saturday.

Chawrasia, looking to shake off the tag of a four-time runner-up, fired a four-under 68 and opened a two-stroke lead over Australia’s Terry Pilkadaris at the Hero Indian Open on Saturday. With four Indians among the top-five placed on the leaderboard, the $1.66 million tournament promises to present a home-grown champion on Sunday.

Defending champion Anirban Lahiri made his move by firing a bogey-free 67 to move within four strokes of Chawrasia. Rashid Khan joined Lahiri at 206 following a 69 and in the process, moved two strokes ahead of Rahil Gangjee, whose 66 saw him share the fifth spot with three others at 207.

Much before overnight leader Pilkadaris carded a 73, the lead changed hands once the leaders’ group finished the eighth hole. At this point, Chawrasia found his third successive birdie to move to 14-under, leaving Pilkadaris at 13-under. On the following hole, the Australian dropped a shot after finding the bushes with his tee-shot. Thereafter, the two contenders only found pars on the back-nine.

Truly spectacular was the manner in which Chawrasia saved pars on the 10th and 12th holes. On the 10th, following a poor shot off the tee and the approach shot, Chawrasia found himself to the left of the green. It was a difficult third-shot that left him needing to putt from about 10 feet. But he stroked the ball well and found the cup.

Talking point

On the par-3 12th, Chawrasia produced the ‘chip-in’ that remained the talking-point of the day. After his tee-shot landed in the thorny bushes behind the green, Chawrasia extricated the ball but sent it to the ‘green’ bunker. From here, he chipped in to save par and never looked in any serious trouble thereafter.

“I feel I played very well and made some good putts. On the 12th and 14th holes I had to make saves and I think, those two holes made a lot of difference. On the back-nine, a few putts didn’t drop. At the end of the day, if you don’t make bogeys, then the birdies count even more,” said the leader.

The scores (Indians unless stated):

S.S.P. Chawrasia (67, 67, 68) 202; Terry Pilkadaris (Aus) (67, 64, 73) 204; Anirban Lahiri (68, 71, 67), Rashid Khan (69, 68, 69) 204; Rahil Gangjee (69, 72, 66), Jeunghun Wang (Kor) (67, 74, 66), Sebastian Gros (Fra) (69, 70, 68), Adilson Da Silva (Bra) (72, 66, 69) 207; Arjun Atwal (70, 71, 67), N. Thangaraja (Sri) (69, 71, 68), Julien Quesne (Fra) (70, 68, 70), Alejandro Canizares (Esp) (68, 69, 71) and Jorge-Campillo (Esp) (66, 71, 71) 208.

Other Indians: Shiv Kapur (72, 67, 70) 209; Sanjay Kumar (67, 72, 72) 211; Ajeetesh Sandhu (76, 66, 70), Honey Baisoya (68, 72, 72) 212; Shamim Khan (71, 70, 72), Mukesh Kumar (73, 68, 72) 213; Jeev Milkha Singh (72, 71, 71), Shankar Das (70, 72, 72) 214; Amardip Malik (73, 70, 72), Vikrant Chopra (69, 73, 73) 215; M. Dharma (70, 74, 72), Chiragh Kumar (73, 70, 73) 216; Shubhankar Sharma (71, 72, 74), Arjun Prasad (A) (71, 70, 76) 217; Om Prakash Chouhan (71, 73, 76) 220; Udayan Mane (72, 70, 79) 221.

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