PUNE, JUNE 24
Himmat Singh Rai shot a second consecutive score of three under 68 to open up a three stroke lead on day three of the Aircel PGTI Players Championship presented by Poona Club Ltd. The Delhi golfer’s total now stands at seven under 206. Gaganjeet Bhullar of Kapurthala and Sri Lankan Anura Rohana are in joint second at four under 209.
Himmat Singh Rai (70-68-68) made a solid start to the third round as he made pars on the first seven holes. The 23-year-old then began breaking away from the rest of the field thanks to some excellent putting. He scored four birdies over the next seven holes (eighth through the 14th). The bogey on the 17th was the only blemish on his card.
Himmat, who has impressed the likes of K J Choi while playing on the Asian Tour, will now be gunning for his second professional title.
Himmat said, “The putter was hot today. I made some crucial putts from about 10 feet. I also managed to keep the ball in play throughout my round otherwise it would’ve been difficult to shoot a low number. A brilliant par save on the 13th gave me a lot of confidence. The course conditions were pretty good today despite the heavy rain on Wednesday. The greens were in great shape.
“My aim in the final round will be to keep the ball in play as much as possible. I will try not to get too ahead of myself and will just take it hole by hole.”
Gaganjeet Bhullar (70-70-69) and Anura Rohana (74-70-65) will ensure that the leader does not have it easy in round four. Bhullar and Rohana are currently three strokes off the lead in tied second.
Bhullar, who shot a 69 on Thursday, has been on a winning spree on the Aircel PGTI in the last year and a half and generally reserves his best for the last round.
Rohana, on the other hand, has some momentum going as he fired the lowest score of the tournament (six under 65) during round three. Rohana’s third round featured seven birdies and a bogey and catapulted him from overnight tied 20th to tied second place.
C Muniyappa, Karanjit Singh Sandhu, Pappan, Rahil Gangjee and Manav Jaini share fourth place with identical totals of two under 211.
Mukesh Kumar, Shamim Khan and Vinod Kumar are a further stroke behind in tied ninth.
Pune-based amateur Aditya Bhandarkar lies tied 17th at three over 216 while Anirban Lahiri is tied 26th at six over 219.
Pune-based professionals Dinesh Raghuvanshi (eight over 221) and Gurki Shergill (10 over 223) are placed tied 32nd and tied 43rd respectively.