Kolkata, Nov 27 (IANS): Delhi's Kshitij Naveed Kaul (69-65-70) carried a slender one-shot lead into the final round, following his dogged two-under 70, in the ICC RCGC Open Golf Championship 2021 at the Royal Calcutta Golf Club (RCGC) here on Saturday.
There was daylight between the top three - Kaul, Angad Cheema, and Ankur Chadha -- and the rest of the field at the end of round three of the Rs. 40 lakh event.
The 20-year-old Kaul, the halfway leader by two shots, managed to keep his nose ahead in round three as he fired three birdies and a bogey that took his total to 12-under 204. Panchkula's Cheema (68-68-69), lying overnight second, narrowed the gap between himself and the leader to just one shot after his round of 69 that featured four birdies and a bogey.
Gurugram's Chadha (68-69-69), who was third at the halfway stage, too carded a 69 punctuated by five birdies and two bogeys, to keep himself in the fray. While Kaul and Cheema are in search of their second title, Chadha will look to take a shot at his maiden title.
It was a slow and steady start for Kaul, who won on the PGTI in 2019, on day three as he made pars all the way till the 12th. He dropped a bogey on the 13th as a result of an error in club selection but came fighting back with birdies on the 14th, 15th, and 16th thanks to his precision with his approach shots.
Cheema, who won his only previous title in his rookie season in 2013, was also slow off the blocks on Saturday. He three-putted for a bogey on the sixth before picking up his first birdie of the day on the 10th. He then kept pace with the leader by adding three more birdies on the 15th, 16th, and 17th draining some clutch putts from a range of eight to nine feet.
Chadha was one-over through the front-nine but thereafter rallied with four birdies on the back-nine to stay in contention for the title. Sunit Chowrasia (71) was the highest-placed Kolkata golfer in tied fourth at six-under 210. Last week's winner Yuvraj Singh Sandhu (72) of Chandigarh joined Sunit in tied fourth. Greater Noida-based Arjun Sharma returned the day's best card of 67 to be placed 15th at two-under 214. Defending champion Mithun Perera (73-73-74) of Sri Lanka was tied 32nd at four-over 220.