Sri Lankan golfer N Thangaraja continued his lead in the Tk 50 lakh second City Bank American Express Chittagong Open for the third consecutive day with a resolute four-under-par 68 at the Bhatiary Golf & Country Club on Friday.
Thangaraja, the overnight leader by one shot, extended his lead to two shots at the end of round three to emerge as a prime contender for the title with total 16-under-par 200.
India’s Aman Raj carded three-under-par 69 to improve his position from overnight tied second to lone second.
His three-day total stood at 14-under-par 202.
Aman’s compatriot Veer Ahlawat (68) was another shot back in third place.
Kapil Kumar of India shot a stunning 10-under-par 62 to move up 13 places to tied fourth at 12-under-par 204 with Bangladesh’s Sajib Ali, who continued his slide after taking the lead on the opening day.
Sajib lying tied second after round two, slipped two spots on day three to tied fourth as a result of one-under-par 71.
Thangaraja, who was in contention in the last two PGTI events but slipped on the final day, will look to turn it around on this occasion.
The 36-year-old Thangaraja, currently placed 11th on the PGTI Order of Merit, made a slow start to round three as he was even-par after seven holes courtesy of two birdies and two bogeys.
However, his eagle conversion from 10 feet on the eighth hole was the spark that ignited his round.
Thereafter, Thangaraja missed some short putts but managed to stay ahead thanks to his consistent ball-striking.
The two-time winner on the PGTI ended the day on a high with birdies on the 16th and 18th hole.
‘I wasn’t playing that well at the start of the day but the eagle on the eighth really brought me back in the game. I felt my hitting got better from there on. I then set a target of four to five birdies on the back-nine’, said Thangaraja.
‘However, that didn’t materialise since I left quite a few putts short. Nonetheless, I’m quite happy to be two ahead at this stage.’
Star of the day, Kapil set the fairways and greens of the Bhatiary Golf & Country Club on fire with an astonishing 11 birdies that came at the cost of just one bogey.
His course record 62 featured an amazing run of five straight birdies from the first to the fifth hole. He picked up another shot on the ninth to make the turn at an imposing six-under-par.
After conceding a bogey on the 10th, the 25-year-old Kapil, still looking for his first title, added another five birdies to etch his name in BGCC’s record books and also rise into contention.
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