Harendra Gupta emerges top contender on day three

Harendra GuptaChandigarh: Harendra Gupta of Chandigarh posted a four-under-68 to emerge as the top title contender on day three of the PGTI Players Championship at the Chandigarh Golf Club. Gupta’s total score moved to 11-under-205 on Thursday. Rashid Khan of Delhi lies three strokes behind the leader in second place.

Harendra Gupta (68-69-68), the overnight joint leader, claimed the sole lead early in his round as he birdied the second, fourth and seventh, landing his shots within six feet on all three occasions. The 28-year-old Gupta bogeyed the eighth and thus made the turn at two-under.

Harendra, a winner of four professional titles, sank a 15-feet putt for birdie on the 10th and followed that up with a 12-footer for birdie on the 11th. He then dropped a stroke after missing a three-feet par putt on the 12th. Gupta made a good chip-putt from 10 yards for birdie on the 16th that helped him end the day in a commanding position.

Gupta, who won his last title four years back at the Chandigarh Golf Club, said, “It was a crucial day for me today as I needed to set up the match for myself in round three. I did manage to put up a good performance by hitting it close on a consistent basis. I was also stroking my putts well even though I didn’t hole that many.

“I feel the advantage of playing on my home course, especially in terms of reading the line and club-selection. I’ll aim to play an under-par round on the final day in order to stay ahead of the rest.”

Rashid Khan (69-71-68) fired five birdies against a bogey in his round of 68 to be placed second at eight-under-208.

Shankar Das (69-68-72) of Kolkata, the overnight joint leader, slipped to third place after his even-par-72 in round three. His total score stands at seven-under-209.

Delhi’s Shamim Khan, Md Islam of Patna and Sri Lankan Mithun Perera are in tied fourth at six-under-210.

Vijay Kumar of Lucknow shot the day’s best score, a six-under-66, to be tied seventh along with Mukesh Kumar of Mhow at five-under-211.