Om Prakash Chouhan fired a 66 to zoom 11 spots to tied second with a card of 13-under 203 while emerging as the highest-placed Indian at the USD 300,000 Duncan Taylor Black Bull Challenge in Bengaluru on Saturday.
Italy’s Lorenzo Scalise shot the third day’s best score of seven-under 65 to take a two-shot lead at 15-under 201 at the Karnataka Golf Association (KGA) course.
Chouhan was in a four-way tie for the second spot along with Spain’s Victor Pastor (67), England’s Ashley Chesters (68) and Sweden’s Rikard Karlberg (69).
Aman Raj (71) was the second Indian in the top-10. He was placed tied ninth at 10-under 206.
Italy’ Lorenzo Scalise (68-68-65), on his first trip to India, has posted only one bogey in his last 54 holes. The 27-year-old from Monza, who currently sits in 10th position on the Road to Mallorca Rankings, was pleased with every part of his game as he went error-free.
Scalise said, “I hit it great off the tee and put myself into some great positions. My putting was very good, and I only left myself short sided once.
“I’ve started the season well and my aim is to be in contention every week because you have to play consistently throughout the year if you want to finish in the top 20 and get your DP World Tour card.”
Chouhan (70-67-66), a seven-time winner on the PGTI, had a quiet start with just one birdie on the front-nine. The Mhow-based Chouhan then began to gather steam with birdie-eagle on the 10th and 11th making a 16-feet conversion on the latter.
Chouhan then stumbled with a double-bogey on the 12th where he found the hazard.
He then came up with a fantastic rear-guard action by sinking long-distance birdie putts on the 14th, 16th, 17th and 18th to rise into contention.
The 36-year-old Chouhan said, “After a good start, the double-bogey on the 12th was quite disappointing but fortunately I didn’t let that affect my game. I was pleased with the very strong finish.
“I’ve been working on the mental aspect of my game as errors on the course used to affect me a lot in the past. But I’m in a much better mental space now to handle such situations.
“My driving and iron shots are my strength at the moment but I know once the putts start rolling in for me I can even shoot a round of eight-under.
“Importantly, I’ve begun the year with some good results, three top-10s out of four starts, which has given me a lot of confidence.” Aman Raj (67-68-71) mixed five birdies with four bogeys in his round of 71 to slip six spots to tied ninth.
India’s Aryan Roopa Anand (72) was tied 17th at eight-under 208. Among the other prominent Indian names, Udayan Mane (72) was tied 43rd at five-under 211 and Khalin Joshi (74) was tied 61st at one-under 215.
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