Gujarat Open Golf: Mohd Azhar builds two-shot lead on day three

Mohd Azhar of Vikarabad built a two-shot lead at a total score of nine-under 135 after he struck a steady two-under 70 in the third round of the Gujarat Open Golf Championship 2024,

Ahmedabad, March 8 (IANS) Mohd Azhar of Vikarabad built a two-shot lead at a total score of nine-under 135 after he struck a steady two-under 70 in the third round of the Gujarat Open Golf Championship 2024, an INR 1 crore event being played at the Glade One Golf Resort & Club in Ahmedabad.

Karnal’s Mani Ram carded a 71 to be placed second at a total of seven-under 137.

The first two rounds of the event comprised nine holes each. The third and fourth rounds comprise 18 holes each. The tournament will be played over a total of 54 holes. The par for the course in the third and fourth rounds is 72. The 9-hole course was played twice in round three with different pin positions.

Mohd Azhar (34-31-70), the overnight leader by one shot, continued his fine putting form on Friday to produce a solid effort of two-under 70. The 24-year-old Azhar, who turned pro in 2020 and is searching for his maiden title, sank two mammoth putts from a range of 20 to 30 feet for birdies on the fourth and fifth.

Armed with a hot putter, Azhar added two more birdies with eight to 10-foot conversions on the eighth and 12th. Just when he was staring at a second successive error-free round, Azhar dropped a double-bogey on the closing 18th as a result of a poor tee shot and a three-putt.

Azhar said, “I had found my putting rhythm in round two. I just built on that today. I know I have a healthy lead but at the same time, I can’t afford to get complacent in the last round. It’s now about keeping my nerves, placing it well off the tees and avoiding the rough as much as I can in the final round.”

Mani Ram (33-33-71), who struggled with his hitting on day three, still managed five birdies against four bogeys for his 71. Chandigarh’s Jairaj Singh Sandhu (67) and Andorra’s Kevin Esteve Rigaill (70) were tied for third at six-under 138 after the penultimate round.

Among the prominent names in the field, Manu Gandas and Rashid Khan were both tied for ninth at two-under 142 and defending champion Aman Raj was tied for 29th at two-over 146. Ahmedabad’s Anshul Patel was the best-placed among the local golfers as he ended the day in tied 18th at even-par 144. Scotland’s Harvey McDonald, the only amateur to make the cut, was placed tied 34th at three-over 147.

Round 3 Leaderboard:

135: Mohd Azhar (34-31-70)

137: Mani Ram (33-33-71)

138: Jairaj Singh Sandhu (35-36-67); Kevin Esteve Rigaill (34-34-70).

–IANS

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