Noida: A rejuvenated Rashid Khan, inspired by his title triumph in Sri Lanka couple of weeks back, seized the third round lead at the TAKE Solutions Classic at Noida Golf Course after shooting the day's best score of four-under-68. The Delhi golfer now leads the pack at eight-under-208.
Overnight leader Honey Baisoya, also from Delhi, slipped to second place at seven-under-209 as a result of his third round of 72.
Rashid Khan (71-69-68), fresh from his win at the Sri Lankan Open two weeks back, sounded a warning to his fellow competitors on day three of the TAKE Solutions Classic with a solid 68 that featured five birdies and a bogey.
Rashid, a two-time Asian Tour winner, lying in fourth place and three off the lead at the start of the round, made his move early in the day with birdies on the first and third holes.
Khan, who last tasted victory on the Asian Tour and the PGTI back in 2014, suffered a minor blip on his card as he bogeyed the 10th, where he missed out from three feet.
The 25-year-old got his round back on track with a six feet birdie conversion on the 13th. He finally emerged sole leader for the day as he ended the round with a flourish with birdies on the last two holes.
Khan couldn’t convert a 20-footer for eagle on the 17th but managed to salvage a birdie there. He then signed off by sinking it from 15 feet on the 18th.
“I’ve been striking the ball better than last season but my form with the putter hasn’t been great. I feel that I’m now slowly regaining my ‘feel’ with the putter. Even though I missed some short putts today, I managed to convert some long ones. I’ll need to focus on reading the green speed well in order to have a chance on the final day,” said Rashid.
He added, “It’s been way below expectations for me so far this year as I’ve not posted a single top-5 on the Asian Tour. My best result in Asia in 2016 has been tied sixth at the Indian Open.”
Things started falling in place for Rashid since the PGTI’s Pune Open in April where he finished joint second. Then came his success in Sri Lanka.
“I know I’ll have to create maximum chances for myself in round four. Hitting regulations will be my priority. The conditions at the Noida Golf Course this week are totally different from what I’ve been used to here. I’ll have to be patient,” Khan, the 2013 Rolex Player of the Year, said.
Second round leader Honey Baisoya (72-65-72) lost ground on day three after a quiet 72 that saw him slip to second position. Baisoya, looking for his maiden PGTI title, finds himself in the final day leader group along with his good friend Rashid.
Opening round leader C Muniyappa of Bengaluru and Noida’s Amardip Sinh Malik, both of whom share third place at six-under-210, will also be major title contenders going into the last round.
Bengaluru’s Khalin Joshi, Sachin Baisoya of Delhi and Chandigarh’s Sujjan Singh are in tied fifth at four-under-212.
Gurgaon’s Shubhankar Sharma is in tied 10th at one-under-215 while Bengaluru’s Chikkarangappa is tied 28th at four-over-220.