Dharma sets himself up for shot at Gurgaon Open crown

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M Dharma - TheGolfingHub
M Dharma goes into the final day of the Gurgaon Open with a two-shot lead. Photo: PGTI

M Dharma fired a third round of five-under 67 to establish a two-shot lead at a total of 14-under 202 at the Gurgaon Open powered by Amrutanjan at the Classic Golf & Country Club in Nuh, Haryana.

Related: After Mani Ram, journeyman Rajiv Jatiwal surges at Gurgaon Open

Sachin Baisoya ended the penultimate day in second position at 12-under 204 after he carded a 66.

In relatively calmer conditions on Thursday when the wind didn’t play as big a role as it did on Wednesday, Saarthak Chhibber returned the day’s best score of 64 to climb 15 spots to tied third at 11-under 205.

Besides Saarthak, the three other players in joint third were Bangladesh’s Md Akbar Hossain (66), Prakhar Asawa (67) and Mukesh Kumar (67) of Mhow.

 

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Dharma (66-69-67), placed second and trailing the lead by two strokes at the halfway stage, moved up one spot on day three courtesy a 67 that featured seven birdies and two bogeys.

Dharma, a winner of two titles whose last win came in 2017, had a shaky start on Thursday when he bogeyed the second. But he came back strong by picking up four birdies on the front-nine as he used his wedges to great effect by landing it within three feet on two occasions.

Dharma began the back-nine with a bogey too as he dropped a stroke on the 11th. However, he fought back once again by sinking three birdies between the 12th and the 17th which included his second outstanding approach shot of the day from 120 yards that stopped inches from the hole.

 

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Dharma said, “Importantly, I managed to make comebacks every time I dropped a bogey today. The highlight of my round were the two approach shots from 120 yards out on the seventh and 12th that I landed within inches of the flag to make birdies. I struck the ball really well and chipped well too.

“I feel the birdie on the 17th coming as a result of a terrific tee shot really lifted my confidence going into the last round. I’ll look to do the basics right, just focus on my game and not think too far ahead in order to perform well in the final round.”

Sachin’s (69-69-66) unblemished card of 66 saw him rise four positions to second place. Besides his six birdies, Sachin, a two-time winner on the PGTI last year, sank two 40-feet par putts on the 16th and 17th to stay within striking range of the lead.

 

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Saarthak (71-70-64) made a big move thanks to his flawless 64. He made five birdie conversions from a range of 10 to 15 feet and also made three crucial par-saves on the first, seventh and 10th.

Halfway leader Rajiv Kumar Jatiwal signed for a 73 and as a result slipped to tied seventh place at 10-under 206.