Kolkata, March 14 (IANS) Pune-based Udayan Mane continued to be on course to win a record fourth straight title on the TATA Steel PGTI as he surged ahead as the joint leader along with teenager Aadil Bedi of Chandigarh after round three of the Bengal Open Golf Championship being played at the Tollygunge Club here.
PGTI Order of Merit leader Mane (67-63-67) and Bedi (65-65-67) were tied for the lead at a total of 13-under-197. Both shot scores of three-under-67 at the Rs. 30 lakh event on Saturday.
Veteran Mukesh Kumar of Mhow, who too fired a 67 on day three, lurks in third place at 12-under-198.
Delhi’s Kapil Kumar delivered the day’s best score of 65 to be placed tied 19th at five-under-205.
Nineteen-year-old Aadil Bedi, who was part of the four-way lead after round two along with Mane, Khalin Joshi and Om Prakash Chouhan, had a quiet opening stretch before he found his rhythm with his first birdie of the day on the seventh.
Aadil, an Asian Tour regular last year who lost out on his card at the Q School this season, made steady progress on the back-nine with chip-putt birdies coming his way on the 10th, 13th and 15th. Bedi also saved par from a tough spot on the 16th courtesy an excellent up and down. The only blemish on his card was the bogey on the 17th where he found the rough and then hit it over the green.
Udayan Mane struck a 15th consecutive sub-70 round on the PGTI to raise hopes of his record fourth successive title on the tour. Udayan’s four birdies included two 15-feet conversions on the third and 13th.
The big-built golfer also landed his tee shot within three feet of the pin to pick up a birdie on the eighth.
Mane dropped his only bogey of the day on the seventh where he was in trouble from the outset having found the trees with his tee shot. He was also unable to push ahead towards the end having made pars on the last five holes.
Mukesh Kumar, a winner of over 100 titles in India and an Asian Tour winner, made his presence felt in round three with a 67 which featured five birdies and two bogeys. Mukesh, who last won at the Tollygunge Club at a PGTI event in 2010, is likely to be a strong contender in the final round.
Bengaluru’s Khalin Joshi, another former Asian Tour winner, dropped from the overnight joint lead to fourth place at 11-under-199 as a result of his 69.
Mhow’s Om Prakash Chouhan also slipped out of the overnight joint lead as his score of 70 placed him tied fifth at 10-under-200 along with Gurugram’s Digvijay Singh (69).
Among the prominent names, Bengaluru’s Rahil Gangjee was tied eighth at eight-under-202 along with Gurugram’s Veer Ahlawat who is currently second in the PGTI Order of Merit.
Viraj Madappa was the highest-placed among the Kolkata players in tied 11th at seven-under-203.