Karandeep Kochar moves into strong position to win 2019 Bengaluru Open

Karandeep Kochar moves into strong position to win 2019 Bengaluru Open

Key highlights:

  • Karandeep Kochar climbs to the top after the third round.

  • Round two joint leaders Trishul Chinnappa and Sudhir Sharma slips on day 3.

  • Kapil Kumar, one of the three second-round joint leaders, slipped to tied 12th on Thursday.

{Press Release}: Chandigarh’s Karandeep Kochhar moved into pole position with a two-shot lead at 11-under-205 in round three of the Indo-MIM presents Bengaluru Open Golf Championship 2019 powered by Karnataka Tourism, a tournament being played at the Karnataka Golf Association (KGA) course.

The 20-year-old Kochhar, who was one shot off the lead in tied fourth at the halfway stage, produced a steady three-under-69 on Thursday to emerge as the prime contender for the title at the Rs. 40 lakh event which is also the penultimate leg of the 2019 TATA Steel PGTI season.

Bengaluru’s Rahil Gangjee (71) and Faridabad-based Abhinav Lohan (70) were in tied second place at nine-under-207.

Karandeep Kochhar (67-69-69), still looking for his first title after turning professional, began well with long birdie conversions on the second and fifth despite being in trouble with his tee shots on both holes. An error in club selection on the sixth saw Karandeep find the water and drop his first bogey of the day.

Nonetheless, Kochhar managed to end the round on a high with two long birdie putts on the 16th and 18th on the most windy day of the tournament.

Karandeep, currently seventh in the PGTI Rankings thanks to his four top-10s this season, said, “It was great to end my round with two birdies for the second straight day. In round two, I made birdies on the closing 17th and 18th and today it was the 16th and 18th. So that helps me carry forward the momentum into the next round. Now the key in the final round will be to keep the mistakes out.”

Rahil Gangjee (68-68-71) will be playing with Kochhar for the third day in succession as he found himself a place in the final day’s leader group after a round that featured five birdies and four bogeys. 

Rahil moved up two spots from his overnight tied fourth. The 41-year-old Gangjee, a regular on the Japan Golf Tour and two-time winner on the Asian Tour, began on a promising note as he drove the green on the par-4 first hole for a birdie. 

Rahil said, “It was an up and down round for me. The conditions were the toughest today. I’m glad I took my revenge on the sixth hole today with a birdie after making double-bogey on that hole over the last two days. I’m still in a good position and a solid start in round four would be crucial for me.”

Abhinav Lohan’s (70-67-70) third-round 70 was punctuated by four birdies and two bogeys and it lifted him four spots from his overnight sixth position. Lohan has been in fine form over the past few months having earned his breakthrough win on the PGTI Feeder Tour and also posting tied 11th and tied 10th finishes at the PGTI events in Jaipur and Kolkata, respectively.

Lohan said, “The second half of the season has been good for me so far. I finally broke the victory barrier and secured some decent finishes. I fixed some glitches in my game during the mid-season break and that has helped improve my ball-striking in particular. It would be ideal if I could end the year with a couple of more top finishes.”

Round two joint leaders Trishul Chinnappa of Bengaluru and Sudhir Sharma of Greater Noida shot rounds of 73 to slip to tied fourth at eight-under-208 along with Lucknow’s Sanjeev Kumar (67).

Eighteen-year-old amateur Akshay Neranjan, playing only his second professional event, in seventh at seven-under-209 and M Dharma in tied eighth at six-under-210 made it four Bengalureans in the top-10.

Chandigarh’s Yuvraj Singh Sandhu matched the tournament’s best round of 65 to close the day in 11th place at five-under-211.

Delhi’s Kapil Kumar, one of the three second-round joint leaders, slipped to tied 12th at four-under-212 after a round of 77 on Thursday.

Defending champion Anura Rohana of Sri Lanka was also placed tied 12th.