Rohana stays in pole position

ROCK STEADY: Sri Lanka's Anura Rohana watches his tee shot during the third round of the Bengaluru Open on Saturday. DH PHOTO/ SRIKANTA SHARMA R

Anura Rohana was in the driver’s seat at the end of round three of the PGTI’s Bengaluru Open Golf Championship here on Saturday.

The 45-year-old Sri Lankan's five-under 67, his second consecutive error-free round, saw him take control as he opened up a significant five-shot lead at 18-under-198 at the Karnataka Golf Association.

Om Prakash Chouhan (67) of Mhow and Delhi’s Rashid Khan (68) occupied tied second place at 13-under-203 in the Rs 60 lakh event.

Rohana (67, 64, 67), the halfway leader by three shots, enjoyed a steady front-nine where he managed one birdie and eight pars to maintain a safe distance between himself and his nearest challengers Aadil Bedi, Mukesh Kumar and Rashid.

Rohana, who won the last of his five titles on the PGTI exactly a year back in Jamshedpur, had a contrasting back-nine thanks to a hot putter that helped him build on his lead. He drained birdie putts from a range of seven to 15 feet on the 11th, 13th and 18th. He also landed his tee shot within three feet on the par-3 15th to set up another birdie.

"It’s great to shoot a second straight bogey-free round. So far I’ve dropped just two bogeys in the tournament and that’s the reason I’m in such a good position at this stage. I continued with my good putting form today. I didn’t miss any putts except a couple on the par-5s," said a delighted Rohana.

“It was good to end the day with a long birdie conversion once again. I converted a 20-footer on the closing ninth in round two and today I sank a 15 feet putt on the 18th. Such birdie conversions help in carrying forward the momentum into the next round."

Chouhan (68-68-67) was even-par for the day till the fourth hole but he picked up the pace with five birdies between the fifth and the 11th to end up with a 67. He thus gained four places from his overnight tied sixth position.

Two-time Asian Tour winner Rashid gained one spot from his overnight tied third after a round of 68. Rashid was even-par for the day through the front-nine but he made a charge with four birdies on the back-nine.

Chandigarh-based teenager Bedi dropped two places to tied fourth after a 70. He shared fourth place with Mukesh Kumar (69) of Mhow at 12-under-204.

C Muniyappa was the highest-placed Bengalurean in sixth place at 11-under-205. Muniyappa was six-under for the day till the 17th hole but conceded a double-bogey on the last hole to close the round with a 68.

Reigning champion Udayan Mane (69) of Ahmedabad was a further shot back in tied seventh along with Bengaluru’s M Dharma and Kolkata’s Divyanshu Bajaj, both of whom carded the day’s best 66, and Patna’s Aman Raj (71).

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Rohana stays in pole position

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