Gurugram, March 30: Chikkarangappa S kept the tricolour fluttering on day three of the Hero Indian Open 2019 with a spirited third round effort of six-under-66 at the demanding DLF Golf & Country Club.
The 25-year-old Chikka, an Asian Tour regular and two-time winner on the Asian Development Tour (ADT), seems to be the only Indian hope going into the final round as he is now placed tied sixth at six-under-210, five behind the joint leaders Julian Suri of the United States and Callum Shinkwin of England. Chikka’s third round exploits lifted him 35 places from his overnight tied 41st.
Two-time European Tour winner Shubhankar Sharma produced a hard-fought one-under-71 to move up four places to tied 15th at three-under-213 at the US$ 1.75 million event.
Chikkarangappa (74-70-66) has been experiencing a career revival since November last year. Over the last five months, he has won two events on the PGTI and also finished runner-up at an Asian Tour event that helped him seal his card in Asia for 2019.
Chikka seems to have carried his form into the Indian Open as was evident from his third round performance. On Saturday, the Bengalurean had a dream start as he struck the ball to perfection from the very outset and as a result conjured birdies on the first, second and fourth.
Thereafter Chikka’s putting was the highlight as he picked up four more birdies on the ninth, 10th, 11th and 13th. This stretch saw him make a couple of 12-feet birdie conversions. He finally dropped his only bogey of the day on the 17th.
Chikka said, “I started really well and that set the tone for the rest of the day. My ball-striking was right up there as I hit almost all greens in regulation and found all fairways. The putting was also sharp.
“I will take seven birdies and a bogey on this golf course any day. This is my best round at this course and almost feels like a course record.
“I’ve been in good touch since late last year and that helped my confidence coming into this tournament. I just feel good about all aspects of my game at the moment.
“As for the last round, I just need to enjoy myself on the course and play with no expectations. Hopefully, the rest should fall in place.”
Shubhankar Sharma (69-73-71) recovered well after an early double-bogey on the second to shoot a brave 71. Sharma came up with five birdies and two bogeys between the fifth and 18th to close the day with a respectable score.
Rashid Khan dropped two places to tied 21st after a 72 on Saturday. His score read two-under-214.
SSP Chawrasia was tied 47th at one-over-217 while Ajeetesh Sandhu was a further shot back in tied 54th.
Gaurav Pratap Singh occupied tied 59th place at three-over-219, Gaganjeet Bhullar was tied 63rd at four-over-220 and Rahil Gangjee was tied 66th at five-over-221.
Source: PGTI Release