Shiv Shankar Prasad Chowrasia opened up a huge six-stroke lead courtesy a three-under 69 in the penultimate round of the Rs One million Sir Padampat Singhania Open, being played at the par-72, Noida Golf Course, on Friday.
The leader's tally stands at nine-under 207 in the 15th leg of the Amby Valley PGAI Tour.
Chandigarh's Amritinder Singh occupies the second position at three-under 213 while another Chandigarh golfer Ranjit Singh and Bangalore's S Madaiah are tied third at level-par 216.
Chowrasia is keenly looking forward to Saturday's round. Every golfer coming out of a break looks forward to regaining his touch and form at the earliest. Chowrasia, having done that over the past four Amby Valley PGAI Tour events, is now sitting on the brink of victory. However, hard as he might try, there is one memory the Kolkatan is finding hard to erase. Just over nine months ago, Chowrasia was sitting in a similar position at the PGAI-TSM Open at this very golf course. A four-stroke lead going into the final round is normally considered healthy but the ever-smiling pro was upstaged by a resurgent Ashok Kumar, who ran away with a superb victory.
"That memory keeps coming back no matter how hard I try to keep it away," said the 26 year old Chowrasia.
"However, I know everything is different this time round, the competition, playing conditions, name it. I will back myself to win all the way tomorrow," he added.
Today, Chowrasia, who walked onto the first tee box with a two stroke lead, birdied the fourth and sixth. On the fourth, his pitching wedge shot nearly found the cup for eagle but he had to settle for birdie. This happened on the sixth as well, where he missed another eagle by a whisker. A bogey on the seventh, where his tee shot found the fairway bunker, was followed by a birdie on the eighth. Two-under at the half-way stage, Chowrasia dropped another shot on the tenth but recovered well with birdies on the14th and 17th.
"Every aspect of my game was in place today and my wrist felt stronger too. I need to get some physiotherapy done on it but otherwise everything was fine," said the golfer, referring to his wrist injury, sustained in a motorcycle accident in mid-2004.
That Amritinder Singh is a dangerous competitor is a well documented fact. The 33-year old Chandigarh pro has from time to time displayed his prowess not just on the Amby Valley PGAI Tour but on the Asian circuit as well. He will however be keen to card a victory which has eluded him since the Hero Golf Chandigarh Open in 2000.
Amritinder's round started with a par followed by a bogey. Birdies on the fourth, eighth and ninth undid the poor start, placing the golfer at two-under on the tenth tee. On his back-nine, birdies on the 11th and 14th, interspersed by a bogey on the 13th handed him a card of three-under 69.
"I played really well but made a few unforced errors," said Amritinder. "I have attacked throughout the week and plan to continue with the same game-plan tomorrow. I will go for nothing short of gold," he added.
Scores (after 54 holes): 207 Shiv Shankar Prasad Chowrasia(70,68,69); 213 Amritinder Singh(68,76,69); 216 Ranjit Singh(71,72,73), S Madaiah(70,70,76); 217 Randhir Ghotra(78,69,70), Shiv Prakash(72,72,73), Rafick Ali(71,72,74); 218 Rohit Choudhary(73,72,73); 219 Sanjay Kumar(71,71,77); 220 Dinesh Kumar(74,74,72), Amit Dube(74,71,75), Harinder Gupta(72,73,75), Mohd. Islam(67,75,78) Amateurs: 224 Shaurya Singh(72,76,76); 235 Praveen Kumar(78,76,81).