Mewat, Haryana: Bengaluru’s Khalin Joshi celebrated his 24th birthday in style by shooting a bogey-free five-under-67 in the third round of the PGTI Players Championship being played at the Classic Golf & Country Club. Joshi’s terrific effort helped him maintain his overnight lead as his total moved to 16-under-200 on a day that witnessed a brief rain interruption.
Delhi’s Chiragh Kumar also held on to his overnight second place courtesy the day’s best score of 66. Chiragh thus took his total to 15-under-201 and managed to reduce Khalin’s overnight lead from two strokes to one.
Khalin Joshi (68-65-67) continued to sit atop the leadberboard going into the final round of PGTI’s eighth event of its landmark 10th season. The two-time winner on the PGTI never seemed to be in any sort of trouble despite playing most of his back-nine in rainy conditions.
Joshi, the overnight leader by two, made early inroads with birdies on the first and third. He then produced one of his best shots of the day, a chip-in, for another birdie on the seventh. He picked up two more strokes on the 12th and 18th, with the birdie on the last, helping him pull away by one shot.
“I shot my lowest score of the week in round two but I think today’s round was better as it came in tougher conditions. I also kept the errors out today. The brief interruption due to rain didn’t really bother me.
“I’ve been playing really well. It’s now about carrying forward the momentum into the last round. The birdie on the last hole was a big boost as it gave me the edge ahead of the final round,” said Khalin.
He added, “A win is extremely important for me at this stage of my career as it will give me the confidence to raise my game on the Asian Tour where I have been struggling.”
Chiragh Kumar (70-65-66), lying two off the lead at the halfway stage, matched Khalin shot for shot on day three. Chiragh stayed in touch with the leader with five birdies and just one bogey till the 12th.
The Asian Tour regular then made a charge with a couple of long birdie conversions on the 15th and 16th to draw level with Joshi. Chiragh finally ended the day just one off the pace.
Chiragh said, “I’ve been in good putting form this week. I made five birdie conversions from a range of 10 to 25 feet today. I also sank a 45-footer for eagle in round two. It’s been a while since I’ve won on the PGTI. I’d like to make good of this opportunity.”
Delhi’s Rashid Khan was placed third at 11-under-205 after his round of 69 that included seven birdies, two bogeys and a double bogey. Rashid, the winner from last week, could also be a contender on the final day.
Abhijit Singh Chadha (67) of Chandigarh and Bengaluru’s Chikkarangappa (70) were in joint fourth at nine-under-207.