While, Dharma posted a four-under-67 in round three on Saturday, Zamal came up with a two-under-69 as both players ended up with a three-day tally of 11-under-203. Jamshedpur-based amateur Karan Taunk is placed third at nine-under-205.
On Saturday, the entire field consisting of the 61 players who made the cut, played nine holes each on both courses - Beldih and Golmuri.
While one half of the field teed off from Beldih, the other half began its round from Golmuri. Thirty-three 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.
M Dharma (66-70-67) fired a bogey-free 67 on Saturday to climb from overnight tied second to joint first.
Dharma made a birdie on first hole for the third straight day with a 10 feet conversion.
He made it two birdies in a row with a brilliant chip on the second that stopped three feet from the hole. The 27-year-old continued to impress with his chipping as he landed it within a foot on the ninth and within a couple of inches on the 12th to make birdies on both occasions. Dharma thus ended up with the best score of the day.
"The key is to adjust well to the conditions of both the courses while playing the last two rounds. I managed to do that well today and reaped the rewards. I've had good starts on all three days and that has been an advantage. I chipped really well today and got my strategy right of landing it on the front-edge of the greens at Beldih. I've been striking it well this year and have therefore posted six top-10 finishes in the season. I'll look to shoot a sub-par round on the final day and not get too ahead of myself," said Dharma, who is yet to win a professional title.
Md Zamal Hossain Mollah (70-64-69), the overnight leader, made four birdies and two bogeys for a 69 that kept him at the top of the pack along with Dharma. Mollah's chip on the second set up a tap-in for birdie. The 28-year-old left himself birdie putts from six feet and less on the sixth, 13th and 17th, thanks to his excellent iron-play.
"I had a mixed day today. I hit it close on many occasions and executed some great approach shots but also came up with some poor shots. The aim will be to find maximum fairways and greens in the final round in order to stay in contention," said Zamal, a two-time winner on the PGTI.
Local lad Karan Taunk (67-69-69) carded a 69 to keep his title hopes alive. He made four birdies and a double-bogey in round three to be placed two strokes behind the joint leaders. His presence in the leader group ensures huge galleries at the Beldih and Golmuri golf courses on the final day.
Gurgaon's Shubhankar Sharma, Gaurav Pratap Singh of Noida and Delhi's Manav Jaini are in tied fourth position at seven-under-207.
Defending champion Mithun Perera of Sri Lanka is placed tied 10th at four-under-210.
The player who makes the first hole-in-one in the tournament will be rewarded with a TATA Nano. Top scores after Round 3: 11-under-203: Md Zamal Hossain Mollah, M Dharma
Nine-under-205: Karan Taunk (A) Seven-under-207: Shubhankar Sharma, Gaurav Pratap Singh, Manav Jaini
--IBNS (Posted on 21-12-2013)