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Arjun Singh displaces overnight leaders
August 28, 2003 18:48 IST
Arjun Singh shot a superb round of six-under 66 to displace the overnight leaders in the penultimate round of the Hero Honda Open South, the fourth leg of the Hero Honda Indian Golf Tour at the Karnataka Golf Association on Thursday.
The Delhi pro's three-day total read seven-under 209, three strokes ahead of second placed Digvijay Singh, who submitted a card of three-under 69 today.
Gaurav Ghei returned a card of two-under 70 to register a total of 213 for 54 holes to be the third spot while the 'Champion golfer of the year' Mukesh Kumar was fourth with a stroke behind.
S Madaiah, who became a hero overnight by sharing the lead on the second day, shot a round of one-over par and was in the fifth position. Ajay Gupta and Ashok Kumar were tied for the sixth position while the other overnight leaders -- Shiv Prakash and Vijay Kumar were sharing the eighth spot.
Arjun Singh, who had played a round of eight-under on the final day on the TNGF-KONE Open after trailing by three strokes, found his wonted form in the third round here. Sinking a 30-footer for a birdie on the third, the 33-year-old played with renewed confidence as he went on collecting birdies on the fifth and sixth, the latter from 20 feet to overtake the leaders.
On a day when most of the golfers failed to keep their ball in the fairway, Arjun consistently found the fairways and greens. He began his return journey with consecutive birdies and chipped in from close on the 14th and went even better on the next hole making his longest birdie -- a 30-footer.
On the finishing hole, Arjun after being in the centre of the fairway, pulled and landed in the rough. After being in an awkward stance, he duffed his shot and ended up making a bogey.
"My putting has been good since the first day where three-putted on three holes," said Arjun, who had 26 putts for the day. "It is real test here. With the course playing tough, it is easy to make a bogey than a birdie. A bunch of players are breathing down my neck. I am taking the final round as just another round," said the current Order of Merit list leader.
Meanwhile, Digvijay Singh, who is known for his late charge, made his move to be in the second position. Opening his birdie count on the fifth, the lone one on the front nine, the Meerut pro three-putted on the eighth for a bogey. A huge putt of 35 feet on the 12th marked his best birdie. He narrowly escaped on the 14th where he shanked his chip, losing a birdie opportunity and saved par. The 31-year-old signed off the round with birdies on the 16th and the finishing holes.
"My putting has saved me. I am just not hitting the ball well," said Digvijay after the round. "Golf is not over until the final hole. But I promise to give me best, said Digvijay.
Gaurav Ghei was level par after a birdie on the fifth and a bogey on the ninth at the end of his front nine and made two birdies on the 11th and 16th to go two strokes lower on the day. With just a stroke seperating the leaders, the winner is still undecided till the last hole.
Meanwhile, Gurunath Meiyappan of Chennai continued to lead the amateur field with a total of 233.
Top scores (after 54 holes) Pros: 209_Arjun Singh (73,70,66); 212_Digvijay Singh (69,74,69); 213_143_Gaurav Ghei (71,72,70); 214_Mukesh Kumar (70,7371); 215_S Madaiah (72,70,73); 216_Ajay Gupta (71,72,73), Ashok Kumar (73,71,72); 217_Shiv Prakash (69,73,75), Vijay Kumar (69,73,75); 218_Naman Dawar (72,74,72); 219_US Mundy (73,72,74); 220_Amandeep Johl (74,71,75); Shamim Khan (73,73,74), Anura Rohana (75,70,75), Rahul Ganapathy (74,74,72).
Amateurs: 233_M Gurunath (76,76,81); 239_David D'Souza (83,73,83).