Khalin, Thangaraja shine on Day 3 of Kolkata Golf Championship

Kolkata, March 24 (IANS) Bengaluru golfer Khalin Joshi struck a three-under 69 in round three as he grabbed a share of the lead at the Kolkata Classic Golf Championship here on Thursday.

Sri Lanka’s N. Thangaraja was rewarded for producing the day’s best effort of 67 as he too joined Khalin as the joint leader at the Royal Calcutta Golf Club (RCGC).

Ajeetesh Sandhu of Chandigarh matched Thangaraja’s day’s best of 67 to jump into contention in third place just one shot behind the joint leaders at the Rs.30 lakh event.

Eighteen-year-old Feroz Singh Garewal, another Chandigarh-based professional, achieved the rare distinction of making consecutive eagles during round three.

“It was unbelievable. I just wanted to keep playing after the second eagle even though I knew my round was over,” said Garewal who ended the day with an one-over 73 to be placed tied 39th at five-over 221.

Thangaraja (71-71-67), who began on Thursday as tied eighth, threw his hat in the ring with an error-free 67 at one of his favoured venues. The Colombo resident, fresh from a tied sixth finish at last week’s Indian Open, hit his short-irons and wedges with pin-point precision on Thursday to leave himself four birdie putts within four feet.

“I came to Kolkata with a lot of self-belief having finished inside the top-10 at the Indian Open. What added to my confidence was the fact that I had also done well at the RCGC in the past having posted low scores at the Tour Championship here in 2013 and 2015. I struggled to read the green speed on the first two days but today I read it well and thus put up a low number,” said Thangaraja, a winner of two titles on the PGTI.

Khalin (71-69-69), also a winner of two titles on the PGTI, made a move from overnight tied fourth to joint first thanks to a timely 69. He landed his wedges within a couple of feet for two birdie tap-ins on the front-nine. He also recovered well from the bunker wall to birdie the 15th after a 20-feet conversion.

Khalin, who had led midway through the final round of last year’s Tour Championship at RCGC before finishing runner-up, said, “I haven’t been closing tournaments well over the last six months. I need to do that on Friday. I’ll need to keep my swing in tempo and just focus on my own game rather than looking at the leaderboard.”

Ajeetesh (71-72-67), the winner of PGTI’s last event in Hyderabad, will also be a contender on the final day. He made an outstanding eight birdies during his third round, a record for the week so far, to rise from tied 10th to third at six-under 210.

Round two leader and local talent Feroz Ali Mollah dropped to tied fourth after his third round of 75. Bengaluru’s C Muniyappa and Gurgaon’s Shubhankar Sharma shared fourth place with Feroz at five-under 211.

Reigning Indian Open champion and home favourite S.S.P. Chowrasia scored 74 to end the day in tied 35th at four-over 220.

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