Cheema poised to win maiden title

Chandigarh lad opens up two-stroke lead to grab the initiative on day three

Cheema poised to win maiden title

 The 19-year-old Cheema fired a superb three-under 69 in the third round to take his cumulative total to one-over 217. He thus opened up a two-stroke lead over second-placed Vasudeva, whose erratic performance netted him a card of three-over 75 while Hyderabad’s Arshdeep Tiwana carded a par-72 to lie third at six-over 222.

Surprises have been the order at the Karnataka Golf Association and it was no different on Thursday too.

Vasudeva, the overnight leader by four strokes, was seemingly in control as he took the turn with the lead still intact. However, erratic play on the par-4 12th hole by Vasudeva allowed Cheema, who had birdied the 10th, to level scores and then wrest the lead two holes later.

Double bogey

After landing on the rough with his second shot, Vasudeva hit the rough again on the third attempt before a poor chip cost him a double bogey.

Cheema then made full use of the advantage to birdie the same hole, while a stunned Vasudeva — also eyeing his first amateur title — bogeyed once again on the 14th to surrender the lead to Cheema.

The Chandigarh lad, who is ranked 20th on the Order of Merit, maintained the momentum to birdie the 17th and now heads into the final round as the leader for the first time in his career.

Earlier, Cheema started his day on a stuttering note. A superb 20-foot birdie on the second hole was quickly blemished by three bogeys on the trot — on the fourth, fifth and sixth.

But the talented golfer staged a fine recovery by smashing three consecutive birdies from the eighth with some brilliant swinging and putting.

Hole-in-one

Meanwhile, Tiwana fired the tournament’s first hole-in-one to take home a golf set from TaylorMade worth more than a lakh.

The Hyderabadi fired it on the par-3 eighth hole with a perfect 8-iron approach to the green, the ball landed about 15 feet on the right and curled towards the pin before settling in the cup.

Leading scores (after 54 holes): 217: Angad Cheema (73, 75, 69); 219: Karan Vasudeva (74, 70, 75); 222: Arshdeep Tiwana (74, 76, 72); 223: Rahul Bakshi (79, 79, 70), Gagan Verma (74, 77, 72); 226: Abhijit Cha-dha (78, 73, 75).

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