With a resurgent Jyoti Randhawa bogged down following a rare double-bogey, Gaganjeet Bhullar just about managed to get things right and hung on to his overnight one-stroke lead after an action-packed third round of the Rs. 80-lakh DLF Masters golf championship here on Saturday.
Though Randhawa held centre-stage for the better part of the day, it was Bhullar’s four-foot birdie on the final hole that decided the lead going into Sunday’s final round.
Bhullar, with a world ranking of 169 to Randhawa’s 194, will have to contend with an expected charge from the defending champion.
Bhullar’s 69, including six birdies and three bogeys, gave him a tally of 11-under 205.
Randhawa, who temporarily enjoyed a two-stroke lead at 12-under after scorching the DLF Golf and Country Club course with a blistering seven-under for 11 holes, slowed down for a 67.
Shamim Khan and Digvijay Singh were sharing the third spot, two strokes ahead of Ashok Kumar and Nepalese Toran Bikram Shahi.
In the forenoon, when Bhullar was struggling with his putting, Randhawa was on a roll after firing four birdies over five holes on the front-nine.
The 37-year-old added an eagle on the 10th hole where he whipped a pitching-wedge from 125 yards from the right “rough.”
Undoing the good work
However, this brilliant effort stood undone on the 12th where Randhawa went out of bounds after his shot found a tree on the left.
“I was aggressive today (on Saturday) and went for the flags. I hit the ball well. I guess, it is good for Indian golf that Bhullar and me will battle it out on Sunday,” said Randhawa.
Bhullar, one-under for nine holes, collected four birdies against two bogeys on the inward half.
“It was a tough round, not as good as yesterday,” said the leader and concluded, “I am a little disappointed.”
The results: Gaganjeet Bhullar (68, 68, 69) 205; Jyoti Randhawa (71, 68, 67) 206; Shamim Khan (73, 66, 69), Digvijay Singh (69, 68, 71) 208; Toran Bikram Shahi (Nep) (76, 66, 68), Ashok Kumar (69, 70, 71) 210; Yusuf Ali (72, 72, 67), S.S.P. Chowrasia (73, 68, 70) 211; Anirban Lahiri (71, 70, 71) 212; Rahil Gangjee (70, 69, 74) 213; Anthony Choat (Aus) (72, 72, 70) 214; C. Muniyappa (73, 73, 69), Gaurav Diwan (71, 73, 71), Shiv Kapur (74, 69, 72), Manav Jaini (70, 73, 72), Gurbaaz Mann (74, 74, 67), Ranjit Singh (72, 70, 73) and Shankar Das (69, 72, 74) 215.