Kochi: Kolkata's Rahil Gangjee and Mukesh Kumar of Mhow hold a one-shot lead going into the final round of the PGTI Cochin Masters presented by CIAL Golf & Country Club.
Gangjee and Kumar shot scores of 65 and 66 in round three to be joint leaders at eight-under-208. Sri Lankan Anura Rohana returned the tournament's best score of eight-under-64 to be tied third along with Kapurthala's Gaganjeet Bhullar at seven-under-209.
Gangjee (72-71-65) made his way up to the top of the pack from overnight tied sixth position after a brilliant seven-under-65.
Gangjee, a former winner on the Asian Tour, made an early charge with birdies on the first three holes. The 36-year-old almost holed out his tee shot on the par-3 third where the ball stopped inches from the pin.
Gangjee added three more birdies to his card before the eagle on the 16th where he hit an immaculate approach shot around the bushes to land it within 10 feet. He closed with a bogey on the last hole.
"I made maximum use of the par-5s today as I was five-under on the four par-5s with three birdies and an eagle. I hit some good approach shots and landed it within 10 feet on a lot of occasions and also converted those putts. The conditions were relatively easier on day three as the wind wasn't a factor," Gangjee said.
"My best shot of the day was probably the cut shot around a small bush on the 16th that set up the 10 feet eagle putt. I've missed three cuts in a row but I'm looking forward to a top finish this week," he said.
Kumar (71-71-66) put together a bogey-free 66 to rise
from overnight tied fourth to joint first. Kumar had a quiet front-nine with birdies on the sixth and ninth but then pushed ahead with four birdies on the back-nine, including three in a row on the 15th, 16th and 17th. The 49-year-old seasoned golfer converted two long putts on the 12th and 17th and set up tap-in birdies on the ninth and 15th.
"My hitting and putting were the best today as compared to the last two rounds. However, I could've gone lower as I missed five birdie putts from close range. Nonetheless, this round puts me back on track and I just need to keep making those putts in the final round in order to be in contention," Kumar said.
Anura Rohana shot the best score of the week, an eight-under-64, to move up from overnight tied 14th to tied third. Rohana's third round effort featured an eagle on the 16th and six birdies. He sank two 15-footers including one for eagle and landed it within five feet of the flag on three occasions.
Bhullar, who was tied second at the halfway stage, dropped to tied third after his round of 69 today.
Defending champion Shubhankar Sharma, who led by three shots after round two, slipped to fifth position at six-under-210 post his third round of 73.