Chattogram: India’s Kshitij Naveed Kaul powered ahead by five shots courtesy his brilliant five-under 67 in round three of the Mujib Borsho Chattogram Open 2022 being played at the Bhatiary Golf & Country Club in Chattogram.
Kaul (71-63-67), who had posted a 63, the tournament’s best score so far, in round two, to move into second place, made further gains on day three with seven birdies and two bogeys to take a commanding lead at a total of 15-under 201 at the INR 50 lakh event.
Chiragh Kumar (71-69-66) of India struck a 66 to move up five places into joint second at 10-under 206. The two other players in tied second were the Bangladeshi duo of Md Siddikur Rahman (71-66-69), who gained two spots, as well as overnight leader Md Akbar Hossain (67-66-73).
Two-time PGTI winner Kshitij Naveed Kaul, who was one off the lead after round two, had a quiet start on Friday with five pars and a bogey on the first six holes. Kaul, fresh from a top-10 in Ahmedabad last week, got his round going with a birdie on the seventh thanks to a precise tee shot and a 10-feet conversion. Kshitij then came up with a flurry of good chip-putts for birdies on the eighth, 10th, 11th and pars on the 12th and 13th.
The 21-year-old Kaul’s terrific hitting off the tee and accurate approach shots earned him three more birdies on the 14th, 17th and 18th in exchange for a bogey on the 15th as he emerged as the top contender for the title.
Kshitij said, “Even though I’ve been striking it well recently, today it was my chipping and putting that stood out. All those up and downs from the eighth onwards were crucial to my round today.
“At this course, you get into a lot of situations where chip-putts need to be made, so either your chipping or putting has to be excellent on the given day.”
Asian Tour winner Chiragh Kumar, lying overnight tied seventh, had an early bogey on the third but soon rallied with an eagle on the fourth where he had a great tee shot and second shot to leave himself a six-feet conversion. Chiragh’s eagle gave him the much-needed momentum shift and helped him add five more birdies thereafter.
Chiragh, a former PGTI Order of Merit champion, said, “I didn’t hit it great today but managed to keep the round together. I hit some good shots but the bad ones were totally out of position so I had to scramble my way out of the round. But I’m quite pleased with today’s effort.
“The eagle on the fourth was crucial as it moved me from over-par to under-par for the day and that just got me in a positive frame of mind and got my round going.”
Two-time Asian Tour winner and Bangladesh’s premier golfer Md Siddikur Rahman, who was overnight fourth, shot a 69 featuring six birdies and three bogeys to move into tied second place.
Md Akbar Hossain, the leader for the first two days, slipped one spot to tied second as a result of his round of 73.
India’s Divesh Rana, one of only five players to shoot three sub-par rounds so far this week, returned a 69 to occupy fifth place at nine-under 207.
Bangladesh’s Md Zamal Hossain Mollah fired the day’s best score of 65 to move into tied eighth place at seven-under 209.