India’s Rashid Khan will have another fine opportunity to win his first Asian Tour title in nearly a decade on Sunday, Mar. 19 after he took the third-round lead today in The DGC Open presented by Mastercard, being played on the Lodhi Course at Delhi Golf Club (DGC).
Khan fired a four-under-par 68, impressively recovering from a double bogey on the first, to finish the day on 11 under for the US$750,000 event and a three-shot advantage over countryman Chikkarangappa S.
Chikkarangappa, who started the day with a three-shot lead and is in pursuit of first Asian Tour title, shot a 74.
Honey Baisoya carded a 65, the joint best low round of the week so far, to sit two back in a tie for third with fellow Indian Om Prakash Chouhan, who returned a 73, and Thailand’s Chapchai Nirat, in with a 71.
Khan won his first Asian Tour title here at DGC in 2014 at the SAIL-SBI Open, beating Siddikur Rahman from Bangladesh in a sudden-death play-off, and tasted victory again later that year at the Chiangmai Golf Classic but they remain his only two wins on the Asian Tour.
There have been opportunities to win since, including at DGC where he has an outstanding record, and last year he finished runner-up twice: first in the Mandari Indonesia Open and then in the Mercuries Taiwan Masters, where he lost in extra-time to Chinese-Taipei’s Chan Shih-chang.
“I am looking for a good round tomorrow and let the game talk,” said the 32 year old, the prolific winner of 11 titles on the Professional Golf Tour of India.
“These kind of rounds give you a lot of confidence, when I shot a bogey free round on day one I was happy. Then today on the first hole I was in the middle of the fairway off the tee and I ended up making a double so you know to come back and shoot that round gives you a lot of momentum. You know you are at the corner where your game is gonna come back.”
Lightning stopped played for 45 minutes when he was on the 11th, but it did little to distract him as when play resumed he holed a difficult 30 footer for birdie.
“I just tried to find the greens and give myself birdie opportunities, I holed really good putts today,” he added.
“Only used my driver once, which is very rare when I am playing DGC, I was just teeing off with my three iron, I am really enjoying this kind of play.”
After that opening double, he didn’t drop another shot, and birdied four of the next six holes, and another two on the back nine.
His fine DGC record, which may count for everything tomorrow, also includes a play-off loss against India’s Anirban Lahiri at the 2013 SAIL-SBI Open.
Khan said he has never seen playing partner Chikkarangappa miss so many putts.
“I wouldn’t say it was a bad day, I hit the ball well, I putted well, it’s just that I lost a little bit of speed on the green, probably the weather, just a little bit of rain slowed the greens,” said Chikkarangappa, who frustratingly made two bogeys and 16 pars.
“It’s okay, I have another 18 holes to go. I just need to go out there and repeat yesterday’s round, nothing else, if I do that, like I said my putter was cold, I just need to get that hot at the beginning of the round. If I do that I think it will be a good match tomorrow.”
Baisoya’s round was picture perfect with no dropped shots and three birdies on the front and four on the back.
Filipino’s Miguel Tabuena and Justin Quiban have an outside chance tomorrow after shooting rounds of 72 and 73 today to lie seven behind the leader, along with England’s Matt Killen, in with a 74.