Pune, April 12: Delhi's Honey Baisoya continued as the firm favourite for the Pune Open Golf Championship 2018 title after he came up with a third round of four-under-67 at the Poona Club Golf Course on Thursday. The 21-year-old Baisoya, the halfway leader by three shots, now enjoys a two-shot advantage at 16-under-197 going into the final round.
Om Prakash Chouhan of Mhow climbed from fourth to second place on day three courtesy his 65. His three-round total stood at 14-under-199. Baisoya (66-64-67) looked on course to build on his second round lead when he birdied the second and seventh holes on Thursday. But he suffered a major setback on the ninth when his drive found a tree and thereby resulting in an awkward lie. The ball was stuck at the base of the tree and the situation led to a double-bogey for Baisoya thus taking him to even-par for the day.
Honey, a four-time winner on the PGTI, soon fought back with two birdies on his next three holes to get back into rhythm. The man known for his appetite for low scores then conjured three birdies at the expense of one bogey over the last five holes to score a contrasting four-under on the back-nine.
Baisoya said, "It was an up and down day for me as I dropped a bogey and a double-bogey. After a good start I couldn't capitalize on the front-nine as the putts didn't roll in for me. The double-bogey on the ninth just compounded my problems. Thereafter, making birdies on the 10th and 12th came as a huge relief.
"I won't be thinking too much about winning or the guys behind me as my main target remains breaking the 20-under mark. The holes I need to watch out for in the final round are the first three, the 16th and the 17th."
Om Prakash Chouhan was three-under through 16 holes but accelerated right towards the end with a birdie-eagle finish that pushed him into contention at 14-under.
Chouhan said, "I started the round with a score of three to four-under in my mind. I struck the ball well and was thus able to exceed my expectations. I'm now very much in the hunt and will look to play aggressively in the final round."
Bengaluru's Abhishek Jha moved up five spots to tied third at 12-under-201 after an extraordinary round of 65. The lanky Jha was two-over through three holes before he produced an inspiring run of seven straight birdies from the sixth to the 12th. His ninth and last birdie of the day came on the 15th and took him within four shots of the lead. Chandigarh's Akshay Sharma (66) too ended the day in tied third.
Ajeetesh Sandhu, another Chandigarh golfer, shot the day's joint best score of 64 that propelled him 14 places to tied sixth at 10-under-203. Bengalurean R Murthy struck a hole-in-one on the fourth during his flawless round of 66. He was tied 18th at five-under-208.
Source: PGTI Release