Manish Thakran surges into two-shot lead after a hard-fought 70, Om Prakash Chouhan and Aryan Roopa Anand give chase

Manish ThakranCoimbatore: Manish Thakran of Gurugram kept alive his hopes of a maiden title after he returned a hard-fought two-under 70 that saw him surge into a two-shot lead at 12-under 204 in round three of the Rs. 1 crore Coimbatore Open 2023 presented by KGiSL being played at the Coimbatore Golf Club.

Come the final day, Thakran will be chased by the duo of TATA Steel PGTI Rankings leader Om Prakash Chouhan (68) of Mhow and Bengaluru-based rookie Aryan Roopa Anand (72), both lying tied second at 10-under 206.

Manish Thakran (68-66-70), one of the three joint halfway leaders, wasn’t having a great day with the putter as was evident from his three-putt bogey on the third. But despite missing out on some short putts, the 27-year-old Manish made the most of his birdie opportunities on the sixth, 10th and 15th to keep his nose in front of the rest.

Thakran, an all-rounder of sorts, who played basketball, football, volleyball and table tennis at a competitive level during his school days before taking to golf at the age of 18, sank a 15-footer on the 10th and landed his bunker shot close to the pin on the 15th. Finally, as the wind picked up on his last three holes, Manish negotiated the conditions well to walk away with pars on that stretch.

Manish, who refers to the 2-Iron as his ‘go-to club’, said, “The conditions were a lot calmer today as compared to round two but my putting wasn’t as good as the last two days so that affected my scoring. But I’m happy to have grinded it out today and that has put me in a great position ahead of the final round.

“Om Prakash and Aryan, the two players with me in the leader group have had a good run this year, but I’ll not be thinking too much about that and instead will just look to enjoy myself out there on the last day and play without any expectations like I’ve done so far this week. Importantly, I’ll be playing at the same time tomorrow so I know what to expect when it comes to the wind and the course conditions.

“The first two holes will be crucial as the first has a small green while the second has a narrow fairway,” added Thakran, who plays at the Classic Golf Resort in Nuh, Haryana.

Om Prakash Chouhan (67-71-68), winner of a Challenge Tour and PGTI co-sanctioned event in Bengaluru this year, is the most experienced hand and the only tournament winner among the top-5 on the leaderboard. Chouhan’s six birdies and two bogeys saw him jump four spots to tied second as he announced his name as one of the top contenders in the race for the title.

Interestingly, the 37-year-old Chouhan has been runner-up at a PGTI event in Coimbatore back in 2014. He will now look to go one better.

Aryan Roopa Anand (66-68-72), who was part of the joint lead over the first two days, slipped to tied second following his 72 on Thursday.

Delhi-based players Saptak Talwar (72) and Harshjeet Singh Sethie (72) continued in fourth and fifth places respectively with totals of nine-under 207 and eight-under 208.

Sri Lankan N Thangaraja, joint leader in the first two rounds, dropped out of the lead for the first time following his 75 on day three. Thangaraja occupied tied sixth place at seven-under 209 along with Bengaluru’s Mari Muthu R (68).


Round 3 Leaderboard:

204: Manish Thakran (68-66-70)

206: Om Prakash Chouhan (67-71-68); Aryan Roopa Anand (66-68-72)

207: Saptak Talwar (66-69-72)

208: Harshjeet Singh Sethie (69-67-72)