Late flourish propels Mane into third round lead

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Gurugram, Mar 18 (PTI) Udayan Mane's late flourish which saw him sink birdies on the last three holes propelled him into the third round lead at a total of 11-under-205 at the Delhi-NCR Open Golf Championship 2021 here on Thursday.

The burly Mane, a 10-time winner on the PGTI, struck a second consecutive five-under-67, the day's lowest round, to move up three spots from his overnight tied fourth position at the Rs. 30 lakh event.

Noida's Gaurav Pratap Singh, like Mane, also continued his steady progress up the leaderboard with a second straight 68. Gaurav, a winner on the PGTI, gained two spots in round three to be placed second at 10-under-206.

Mane (71-67-67) kept chipping away with birdies at regular intervals as he capitalised on the fifth and ninth, both par-5s, by finding the greens in two shots on both occasions. Mane then had a 10-feet birdie conversion on the 12th.

Mane's only blemish of the day came on the 14th where he bogeyed after a couple of erratic shots. He finally signed off in style with birdies on the last three holes, the highlight of his round.

Mane's birdie on the 18th was his third on a par-5 on Thursday.

Mane, who had equalled the PGTI record by winning three events on the trot on the tour from December 2019 to February 2020, said, 'I had a birdie chance on the par-5 11th hole too but I three-putted for a par there. I created opportunities for myself on almost every hole today.' Gaurav Pratap Singh (70-68-68), who won on the PGTI back in 2009, raised hopes of a second win on the tour with a solid effort that featured five birdies and a bogey.

Gaurav, also blessed with broad shoulders and a strong built like leader Mane, began the day with a birdie on the first but had to wait for his next birdie till the ninth.

He had a good day with his wedges and made some quality chip-putts while picking up two more shots in quick succession on the 11th and 13th to briefly take the lead and announce himself as a contender for the title.

However, after adding another birdie on the 17th, Gaurav dropped a shot on the closing 18th where he had a tough lie in the bunker.

Patna's Aman Raj (72-66-69) moved up one place to third position at nine-under-207 after shooting a 69 that featured an eagle, two birdies and a bogey. Aman holed out from the fairway bunker from 167 yards out for an eagle-two on the par-4 14th hole.

Round two leader Chikkarangappa of Bengaluru dropped to tied fourth place at eight-under-208 after his round of 73.

Delhi's Manav Jaini carded a 69 to join Chikka in tied fourth place. PTI AH AT AT