Shamim Khan

Kolkata, March 23 (IANS) Shamim Khan’s near-flawless short-range game helped him surge ahead by three shots in the penultimate round of the Kolkata Classic golf championship even as his driving woes continued at the Rs 40 lakh prize event here on Thursday.

The Delhi-based golfer struck the day’s joint best score of four-under 68 at the Royal Calcutta Golf Club (RCGC) to take his total to 10-under 206. He thus moved up one spot from overnight second.

Mukesh Kumar, on the other hand, conceded his overnight lead and slipped to second after an even-par 72 that saw him struggle. Mukesh’s three-day total stood at seven-under 209.

Shankar Das moved up 11 places to tied third on day three as a result of his 68 which was the joint best score of the day along with Shamim’s round.

Das shared the third position along with Sri Lankan Mithun Perera (70) at four-under 212 on a day that witnessed just 11 under-par rounds.

Star attraction S.S.P. Chawrasia carded 72 to be tied for fifth at three-under 213 total along with Sanjeev Kumar (70) of Lucknow and Noida’s Gaurav Pratap Singh (71).

Shamim (70-68-68) was erratic off the tee yet again but that didn’t stop him from producing a second straight 68 that handed him a valuable three-stroke advantage.

Despite finding just six out of 14 fairways on Thursday, the 38-year-old Shamim continued his rise in the tournament with an eagle, three birdies and a bogey.

The highlight of his round was the eagle on the par-5 fourth where he holed out from 110 yards. He also sank a couple of birdie putts from 20 to 25 feet.

Shamim came up with three superlative par-saves as well that made his round all the more special.

“I’ve never won at the RCGC before so that is a motivating factor for me this week. In the final round, the priority would be to make a steady start by hitting maximum fairways and greens.

“That would get my confidence going. I can then play as per the demand of the situation,” Shamin told reporters later.

Mukesh (69-68-72) just couldn’t find the hole from short-range from the first to the fifth. He thus ended up dropping three strokes on that stretch.

However, Mukesh revived his round with some accurate hitting that led to birdies on the sixth, 10th, 15th and 16th.

The 51-year-old finally conceded a three-shot lead to Shamim when he found the hazard on the 17th for a bogey against the run of play.

Chawrasia made an incredible four birdies on his last five holes to card a 72 which meant he closed the day in tied fifth, seven strokes off the lead.

Among the other prominent names, S. Chikka (76) was tied 10th at one-under-215, Rashid Khan (71) was tied 19th at two-over 218 and PGTI Order of Merit leader Ajeetesh Sandhu (72) was tied 24th at three-over 219.

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