Gurugram’s Manu Gandas moved closed to title-defence when he carded the day’s best score of five under 65 for an aggregate of 22-under 188 which put him six strokes clear at the top of the IRA Telangana Golconda Masters golf championship at the HGA Course (Golconda) here on Friday.
Chandigarh’s Yuvraj Singh Sandhu too posted a 65 to move up two spots to second position at 16-under 194 at the Rs. 40 lakh event.
Manu Gandas (63-60-65), currently third in the PGTI Order of Merit, just one spot behind Yuvraj, extended his impressive overnight lead by one shot as he struck six birdies and a bogey. The 26-year-old Gandas, who shot a course record 60 in round two, drove the par-4 second green to set up an early birdie but then had a quiet front-nine as he dropped his first bogey of the tournament on the seventh and made pars on the rest of the holes.
Manu’s round took off on the back-nine where he claimed five birdies including two tap-ins and a 12-footer on the 17th. He enjoyed a good day with the driver and the putter.
Yuvraj Singh Sandhu (64-65-65), who at one point had narrowed the gap with Manu to just one stroke, enjoyed a good ball-striking day despite enduring a cold putter.
Syed Saqib Ahmed (67) of Bengaluru was placed third at 13-under 197 while another Bengalurean Abhishek Jha (67) and the Chanidgarh duo of Jairaj Singh Sandhu (69) and Angad Cheema (72) were joint fourth at 10-under 200.
Seventeen-year-old Hyderabad-based amateur Milind Soni, who was in the top-3 for the first two days, slipped to tied ninth at seven-under 203 after returning a 75 on Friday. Hyderabad professional Mohd Azhar (67) shared the ninth spot with Soni.
Hardik Chawda (70), another professional from Hyderabad, was placed tied 11th at six-under 204.