Siddikur maintains lead

Chandigarhs Ranjit Singh fires 3-under-69 to jump to second place

Graceful: Ranjit Singh in action in the third round of the Bangalore Open on Friday. DH photo

The overnight leader played a solid overall game in varying weather conditions to card a second consecutive three-under 69 for an overall score of seven-under 209 at the Karnataka Golf Association.

Rahman holds a one-stroke lead over Ranjit Singh after the Chandigarh pro too returned a 69. Bangalore’s Anirban Lahiri kept his title hopes alive at third position with a two-under 70 for an overall four-under 212.

Dressed in all white, Rahman’s game was as spotless as his apparel. Almost all his drives hit in the fairway in regulation and his approach shots too fell close to the pin.
The 25-year-old picked up his first birdie with a neat six-foot putt on the par-4 third hole before pulling off the shot of the day on the fifth hole.

His shot from 35 yards out landed just inches short, and he converted into a birdie comfortably. Rahman, who turned pro in 2007, faltered for the first time on the par-3 eighth. In the hope of reeling in a birdie, an overconfident Rahman hit the ball a bit too hard, only for it to speed away on the lightning quick green, thus costing him a stroke.

Despite hitting the bunker on the 11th, Rahman fired a birdie with a superb chip but negated it by dropping a stroke in the very next hole. But a 15-foot putt on the 13th hole and birdie on the 15th meant he picked two more strokes to close the penultimate round as the leader for the first time in his professional career.

“I had an excellent day today. To score three-under for a second consecutive day on this challenging course gives me a lot of satisfaction. Everything in my game was good. The driving and putting worked fine. I hope it all falls in place again in the final round,” said Rahman.

With Lahiri and Ranjit searching for their maiden professional title, Rahman looking for his first title of the season and no huge lead in the bag, a fascinating final day’s action is on the cards on a demanding course.

Leading scores (after 54 holes): 209: Md Siddikur Rahman (71, 69, 69); 210: Ranjit Singh (70, 71, 69); 212: Anirban Lahiri (72, 70, 70); 213: Harendra P Gupta (69, 73, 71); 214: Manav Jaini (71, 70, 73); 216: Shamim Khan (71, 74, 71), C Muniyappa (71, 72, 73); 217: Himmat Singh Rai (75, 72, 70), R Srinivas (72, 74, 71), Mukesh Kumar (72, 69, 76); 218: M Dharma (72, 74, 72), Gaurav Diwan (72, 73, 73).

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