Digboi: Kolkata’s Shankar Das and Noida’s Gaurav Pratap Singh stormed into the joint lead in round three of the Rs. 30 lakh IndianOil Servo Masters Golf 2015 being played at the Digboi Golf Links in Digboi, Assam. Das and Singh posted scores of six-under-66 and five-under-67 respectively to take their three-day tally to 13-under-203. Mukesh Kumar of Mhow, the overnight leader, slipped to third place at 12-under-204 after his third round of 70.
Shankar Das (66-71-66), who started the day in tied fifth, three off the lead, had a quiet first seven holes as he made pars all through. However, the two-time winner at Digboi, started turning on the heat with some top-class chip-putt birdies on the seventh and ninth. Shankar then followed up a couple of accurate wedge shots with seven-feet conversions to add two more birdies on the 11th and 12th.
The eagle-two on the par-4 14th was the highlight of Das’ round. He drove the green on the 14th before sinking an eight-footer. Shankar, the 2010 and 2011 IndianOil Servo Masters champion, thus came up with the day’s best score to end up on top of the leaderboard and raise hopes of his third win in Digboi.
“I’ve been hitting it close through the week but the putts rolled in for me today. I had hit it even closer in round two but the putts were not falling. I missed as many as 13 putts in round two. The 14th has been my lucky hole so far. I birdied the 14th on the first two days and made an eagle today. It’s just one of those holes where I know I will score more often than not,” Shankar said.
The 31-year-old, reigning Rolex Ranking champion, added, “I was pleased to go bogey-free today. This gives me a solid platform for the final day. I know this course well and will focus on putting up a good number in round four rather than thinking too much about the win.”
Gaurav Pratap Singh (65-71-67), the first round leader, also revived his campaign with a 67 on day three after having slipped to tied third in round two. After making birdie-bogey on the third and fourth he produced a spectacular chip-in for birdie on the sixth which was followed by a chip-putt birdie on the seventh.
Gaurav recovered well from a tough spot from 40 yards out on the ninth to salvage a valuable birdie. The chirpy golfer from the Noida Golf Course took away birdies on the 11th and 15th despite missing out on eagle opportunities from 10 feet and five feet respectively.
“I’m delighted to be back in the reckoning today after scrambling through round two. I birdied all the four par-5s and dropped just one bogey. However, I also missed some short birdie putts especially on the 18th where it lipped out.
“It’s been a satisfying effort since I hung in there to keep myself in contention. I’m excited about playing in the leader group after a long time. I’ll just look to maintain the momentum in round four and not think too much about the leaderboard,” said Gaurav.
Second round leader Mukesh Kumar (66-68-70) dropped to this place as a result of his 70 in round three. The six-time winner of the IndianOil Servo Masters mixed four birdies with two bogeys on Friday. Mukesh, who closed the day with a long birdie putt on the 18th to reduce the lead to one shot, would also be a force to reckon with on the final day.
Delhi’s Vinod Kumar lies fourth at 10-under-206 while Bengaluru’s M Dharma is in fifth place at eight-under-208.
Defending champion Shamim Khan (71-72-72) of Delhi returned an even-par-72 to be tied 21st at one-under-215.