PGTI Cochin Masters: Saqib maintains lead

Bengaluru's Syed Saqib Khan maintained his lead at the PGTI Cochin Masters with a four-shot lead at the end of the third round on Friday.

Chandigarh’s Abhijit Singh Chadha, who is currently in the second spot in the PGTI Cochin Masters golf after Friday's third round, will be hoping to push Bengaluru's Syed Saqib Ahmed hard in Saturday's final round.   -  Special Arrangement

He has been on the professional circuit for a little more than three years but Syed Saqib Ahmed has never felt so good before. During the practice rounds here, the 24-year-old from Bengaluru felt very different, felt that this could be his moment.

Still, Saqib was surprised with his splendid run in the PGTI Cochin Masters at Nedumbassery’s CIAL Golf Club which helped him maintain his overnight lead, with a four-shot lead, after Friday’s penultimate round.

“I didn’t expect this at all. I’m just playing each shot as it comes, I’m not even expecting to win tomorrow,” said the young man, who has never won a PGTI title before but appears to be a favourite to triumph on Saturday.

Thursday's report: Hole-in-one sees Syed Saqib Ahmed grab lead

Saqib has been trying out yoga and meditation for the last six months on the recommendation of a friend and the results are showing. “Yes, I’m more focused on living ‘in the moment’,” explained Saqib, who was a very impressive junior with many wins in the Indian Golf Union’s amateur circuit a few years ago.

The young man is also a graduate in psychology and as he produced five birdies on Friday, one could see that the more established stars in his group, day one leader Amardip Singh Malik and Kolkata’s Shankar Das, wilting a bit under pressure.

Saqib appeared to be improve with each hole at that stage early in the back nine and even had a six-shot lead over his nearest rival before two bogies, in the 14th and 18th holes, pulled him down a bit.

Chandigarh’s Abhijit Singh Chadha, a fluent player with lovely drives who was overnight third, was in the second spot while his good friend, Noida’s Amardip, occupied the next rung.

Chandigarh’s Sujjan Singh, with the day’s best score of 68, was joint fourth along with Noida’s Gaurav Pratap Singh and Gurugram-based Ankur Chadha. Delhi’s Shamim Khan, the reigning PGTI Order of Merit champion, finished in the 13th spot.

The scores (18 holes, par 72, day 3): 1. Syed Saqib Ahmed (206), 2. Abhijit Singh Chadha (210), 3. Amardip Singh Malik (211), 4. Sujjan Singh, Gaurav Pratap Singh, Ankur Chadha (all 212), 7. Shankar Das (213), 8, Sudhir Sharma, Maniram, Honey Baisoya (all 214).


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