The top three in the TATA Steel PGTI Ranking – Om Prakash Chouhan, Sachin Baisoya and Aman Raj – were also the top three on the leaderboard after the end of Round Three of the Rs 80 lakh IndianOil SERVO Masters 2023 being played at the Digboi Golf Links.
Chouhan fired a five-under 67 on Friday to build a two-shot lead for himself as his tournament tally moved to 14-under 202.
Aman shot the day’s best score of 66 to gain six spots and move into tied second at 12-under 204 along with Sachin who scored a 69.
Earlier in the day, Round Two which was suspended due to the fading light on Thursday, was completed. Thereafter, the cut was declared at even-par 144 with 51 professionals and one amateur making it to the money rounds.
Chouhan, Sachin and Sukra Bahadur Rai of Nepal were the halfway leaders at nine-under 135. Round Three then got underway from 0850 hrs local time.
Chouhan (67-68-67), a two-time winner on the PGTI this season, was off to a terrific start in Round Three as he collected four birdies on the front-nine thanks largely to his outstanding chipping and putting.
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The 37-year-old Chouhan, who plays at the Kalhaar Blues & Greens golf course in Ahmedabad, then had a mixed back-nine where he stumbled with two bogeys but also managed a 25-feet eagle conversion on the 15th and another birdie to keep himself ahead of the pack.
Chouhan said, “My driving form has been great after I recently changed my driver. I found most of the fairways today and that set up the chances for me. My chipping and putting were also outstanding today. I narrowly missed two chip-ins today.
“The 15th hole is turning out to be my favourite spot on the course as I made eagle there for the second day in succession. I also had a birdie on the 15th during round one. Importantly, I targeted a score of four to five-under today and achieved it.
“It’s been good fun playing with my close friend Sachin in the leader group. I look forward to playing alongside him in the last group once again during the final round. With us in the same group, the atmosphere is quite relaxed as we often indulge in banter and that keeps us both in a good mental space.”
Aman (69-69-66), a winner on the PGTI a couple of months back, had an early double-bogey when he found the hazard on the third. However, he turned around his day with eight birdies thereafter as he didn’t leave himself anything longer than 10 feet on the greens.
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Aman said, “As I wore new shoes today, I felt quite uncomfortable with the socks I was wearing along with those shoes. After I changed my socks on the fourth hole, I just felt quite settled and was back in the groove.”
Sachin (66-69-69), another two-time winner on the tour this year, mixed an eagle and four birdies with three bogeys for his 69 that kept him in the hunt.
Kapil Kumar (69) was placed fourth at 11-under 205.