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Jyoti eagles his way to the lead
September 15, 2005 18:20 IST
Jyoti Randhawa made two eagles in three holes which helped him take an almost unassailable six-shot lead at the end of the third round in the Hero Honda Open South, the second leg of the Amby Valley PGAI Tour, at the Karnataka Golf Association in Bangalore on Thursday.
Randhawa added a three-under par 69 to his overnight four-under score for a total of seven-under par 209 for 54 holes.
Mukesh Kumar had a par round to be in the second place at 215 while Pakistan's No.1 player Matloob Ahmed Rana and Chandigarh lad Harinder Gupta were tied for third place at level-par 216.
The hard-working DGC pro Shamim Khan was in the fifth spot at 217 while Digvijay Singh, local challenger C Muniyappa and Kolkata lad SSP Chowrasia were tied for the sixth place at 218.
Javed Inayat and Ashok Kumar were in the ninth and tenth place respectively.
Randhawa, sporting an odd-coloured trouser, could not get off to as smooth a start as in his previous rounds. A wayward approach shot on the par-4 second hole and a pushed chip forced him to settle for a bogey. After setting up for a birdie on the next hole, he two-putted for a par. However, he struck back with a birdie on the par-5 fifth, only to lose the stroke on the par-4 seventh. But he came back strongly on the ninth, where a driver-3 wood combination landed him just six feet from the pin and he duly eagled the hole.
On the back nine, after a par on the 10th, the lanky pro from Gurgaon who mostly plays on the Japanese Tour, unfurled a huge drive which left him with a six-iron shot on the par-5 11th. The ball pitched on the slope of the green and rolled about 35 feet past the pin on the undulating green. Having a close look on the super-fast greens, Randhawa had to actually roll the ball downhill and about five feet uphill to hole it for another eagle. And as he did so he pumped his fists in the air and knew that he had achieved the winning lead.
The former Indian Open champion then parred his way for the rest of the holes.
"The pin positions were really tough and most of them were on the slopes. I found myself on the wrong side of the pin on most occasions and actually struggled for pars," admitted Randhawa. "I know six shots is a good lead but I am not going to take it easy. I will try and play my natural game and try for as many birdies as possible," he added.
Meanwhile, Mukesh Kumar beginning the day at one-under, saved a stroke on the opening hole only to lose it on the second. Making a birdie on the first par-5 hole of the course on the fifth, Mukesh seemed to have regained the first-day form where he had shot a five-under 67. However, on the tough par-4 seventh, the Amby Valley PGAI Tour Champion Golfer of the Year, two-putted for a bogey after being on the edge of the green. He did miss a couple of birdie putts from short distance but more importantly did not lose any strokes.
"I am really not able to read the greens. Whatever advantage I was getting from my hitting, I lost it on the greens," said the pro from Mhow.
With Randhawa leading by six strokes, the fight will be for the second place with at least five players Matloob Rana, Harinder Gupta, Digvijay Singh, Shamim Khan, C Muniyappa and SSP Chowrasia huddled together.
Top scores (after 54 holes) (Pro): 209 Jyoti Randhawa (71, 69, 69); 215 Mukesh Kumar (67, 76, 72); 216 Matloob Rana (70, 73, 73), Harinder Gupta (71, 71, 74); 217 Shamim Khan (75, 70, 72); 218 Digvijay Singh (74, 72, 72), C Muniyappa (73, 72, 73), SSP Chowrasia (71, 74, 73); 219 Javed Inayat (70, 73, 76); 220 Ashok Kumar (73, 74, 73), Ajai Gupta (71, 71, 78); 221 Sandeep Syal (77, 74, 70), Vijay Kumar (75, 73, 73); 222 Gurbaaz Mann (75, 71, 76); 223 Yusuf Ali (74, 78, 71), Dinesh Raghuvanshi (78, 72, 73). Amateurs: 244 P Krishna (80, 82, 82); 252 Riad Mahmood (85, 78, 89).