Ajeetesh Sandhu emerges co-leader with Rashid Khan, Karan Kochhar still in contentionhttps://indianexpress.com/article/sports/golf/jeev-milkha-singh-invitational-golf-ajeetesh-sandhu-rashid-khan-karan-kochhar-6078787/

Ajeetesh Sandhu emerges co-leader with Rashid Khan, Karan Kochhar still in contention

Ajeetesh Sandhu kept his cool and carded a third round score of five-under-67 to share the top spot along with Delhi golfer Rashid Khan with an overall score of 14-under-202 in the Second Jeev Milkha Singh Invitational.

Ajeetesh Sandhu in action on the third day of the Jeev Milkha Singh Invitational Golf tournament at Chandigarh Golf Club on Saturday. (Source: Kamleshwar Singh)

On a day when overnight co-leader and local lad Karandeep Kochhar suffered a minor dip in his form, another Chandigarh golfer and a former winner on Asian Tour, Ajeetesh Sandhu, kept his cool and carded a third round score of five-under-67 to share the top spot along with Delhi golfer Rashid Khan with an overall score of 14-under-202 in the Second Jeev Milkha Singh Invitational presented by Take Solutions being played at Chandigarh Golf Course.

Sandhu, who had posted a score of three-under-69 in the second round, started the third round with a bogey on the first hole but recovered to be at par for the day at the end of the front-nine. The back-nine saw Sandhu sinking a total of five birdies, four of which came on the last six holes. “I am happy with the way I finished my round today. It’s always tough to be in contention at your home course and I am glad that am in contention for the title. I made a slow start and the bogey on the first hole was followed by a couple of misreads. The greens looked faster but were not playing that fast. I think the third shot on the seventh hole brought my rhythm back and it helped me on the back-nine. I missed a hole-in-one on the 14th hole but the four birdies over the last six holes gave me confidence. I won here as a junior and I will be eager to win the title at my home course,” shared Sandhu, who climbed from tied-third to tied-1 st.

Delhi golfer Khan, who has won three titles this year including the PGTI Championship at Chandigarh Golf Course in May this year, was placed tied-third at the start of the day. Khan, who had matched the course record score of eight-under-64 on Friday, sank five birdies in his third round, which also included a birdie from 40 feet on the 12th hole. The Delhi golfer had a bogey free round on Friday and believes that maintaining his composure will be the key on the final day. “It was good to play a error free today. I started a little slow as compared to Friday and could not hold some putts initially. I was not making any mistakes but I had the chance to recover on the back-nine. The birdie on the 12th hole and the birdies on the 16th and 17th hole meant that I was in the lead at the end of the round. Some of the flags were placed tough and I need to fight my way in the final round to win the title,” shared Khan.

Overnight-co leader 20-year-old Karandeep Kochhar carded his worst score of the tournament with a third round score of one-under-71. Like Sandhu, Kochhar too began his round with a three-putt bogey on the first hole but the Chandigarh golfer managed to make par on some challenging holes apart from sinking birdies on the sixth and 12th hole. It meant that Kochhar was just one shot off the leaders. “It wasn’t the easiest rounds for me today. I did not hit the ball well. I guess I putted well. But my approach shots were not good. I was able to make par easily but not able to land the ball within shorter distance to the hole. Overall I am happy that I am still in contention and playing in leaders group in the final round. The key in the final round will be to keep the ball in the fairways and then aim for the birdies,’ said Kochhar.

Overnight co-leader Mithun Perera of Sri Lanka dropped to the fourth place with a third round of one-over 73 while Chandigarh golfer Akshay Sharma climbed to the sixth spot with a round of six-under-66. Another Chandigarh golfer Aadil Bedi too shot a round of six-under-66 to be at the seventh spot.