Tata Open Golf: Perera has the edge
Sri Lankan Mithun Perera enjoys a one-stroke advantage after the penultimate round of the 11th TATA Open. Perera carded a four-under-67 on Saturday that took his total score for the tournament to 10-under-204.
The Delhi duo of Rashid Khan and Vinod Kumar along with Om Prakash Chouhan of Mhow are in tied second place with matching totals of nine-under-205.
Mithun Perera (65-72-67), who was overnight tied second, had his first success of the day on the fourth hole where he made a chip-putt from 50 yards for birdie.
The 26-year-old made steady progress through the day as he birdied the eighth and 12th as well. Mithun sank a 10-footer on the eighth and then found the green in two shots on the par-5 12th that set up a two-putt for birdie.
Perera, a two-time winner on the PGTI, sneaked into the lead with a birdie on the closing 18th where he landed his second shot from 130 yards to within five feet of the flag. The Colombo-based professional thus ended the day with a 67 to raise his title hopes.
"I have played very consistent golf this week. I had a bogey-free round today thanks to my good hitting. I made 15 greens in regulation today and kept the ball in play. I chatted a lot with my playing partners through the day and that really eased the pressure on me and helped me in staying calm and relaxed.
"As we are playing on two different courses on the same day, one needs to adapt well to both courses in order to play well. I have my work cut out on the final day as a lot of quality players are right behind me and will be breathing down my neck," said Perera, who already has an individual title and a team championship win under his belt in 2012.
Rashid Khan's (70-69-66) five-under-66 was the best round of the day and helped him climb from overnight tied fourth to tied second. Rashid's third round featured an eagle on the fourth, four birdies and a bogey. He chipped-in for eagle on the fourth.
Vinod Kumar (68-67-70), the round two leader and defending champion, slipped to tied second on day three after firing a one-under-70. Om Prakash Chouhan (69-68-68) held on to his overnight tied second place with a round of three-under-68 on Saturday.
Anura Rohana of Sri Lanka and Noida's Gaurav Pratap Singh share the fifth spot with identical totals of six-under-208.
Karan Taunk of Jamshedpur, the lone amateur to make the cut, is placed tied 28th at one-over-215.
After the cut was made at two-over-145 on Friday, the field was restricted to 56 professionals and one amateur. On Saturday the entire field played nine holes each on both the courses - Beldih as well as Golmuri.
While one half of the field teed off from Beldih, the other half began its round from Golmuri.
Thirty golfers with the best scores at the end of round two teed off from Golmuri and finished at Beldih.
The par for the combined courses was 71. This format will also be followed in the fourth and final round on Sunday. --IBNS