Shubhankar’s stunning 63 catapults him into the joint lead, Udayan too rises to the top with a 67 to boost Order of Merit chances on day three of TATA Steel Tour Championship 2021

18/12/2021 23:34:13 PM   Rajan Kumar Singh         217

Multiple contenders in the fray with Gaganjeet, Veer, SSP breathing down leading duo’s neck

Jamshedpur: Indian star Shubhankar Sharma set the Golmuri Golf Course ablaze with a nine-under, his best ever score over nine holes, enroute a stunning nine-under 63 that catapulted him into the joint lead along with 2019 champion Udayan Mane, who shot a fighting 67 to boost his chances of winning the Order of Merit title, in round three of the Rs. 1.5 crore TATA Steel Tour Championship 2021 being played at the Beldih and Golmuri Golf Courses in Jamshedpur.

Shubhankar Sharma followed up his sedate 71 in round two with a red-hot 63 on Saturday to make a strong comeback in the tournament as he climbed seven spots from his overnight tied eighth position. The 25-year-old, a two-time winner on the European Tour, fired two eagles, six birdies and a bogey during his outstanding effort that matched the tournament’s lowest round earlier shot by SSP Chawrasia on day one.

After the turn, Sharma’s round slowed down as he could only pick up a birdie and a bogey on the back-nine at the Beldih Golf Course.

“The birdie-eagle start gave the impetus to my round which I built upon through the front-nine. I also started well in Beldih but missed an easy up and down on the 12th that took the wind out of my sails a little bit. After that it was tough making birdies as the greens in Beldih are smaller and the pin positions were also tougher today.

Olympian Udayan Mane, lying overnight tied third and two off the lead, too had a good start to the day as he birdied the first from 10 feet and then recovered well from the bunker wall with a chip-putt birdie on the fourth before sinking a 30-footer for birdie on the fifth. Mane dropped a shot on the eighth but soon regained control with birdie on the ninth.

Udayan, who represented India at this year’s Tokyo Olympics, said, “It was a fighting round today as I didn’t play my best but managed to claw my way to five-under. I’m pretty happy with where I am now.

“One of the things to do in the final round would be to adapt quickly to the second venue. Those who can manage that will have a huge advantage.”

Veer Ahlawat struck an eagle, five birdies and three bogeys during his 68. Veer too has an opportunity to win the Order of Merit title if he wins this week’s event. He is eighth in the merit list at the moment.

PGTI Order of Merit leader Karandeep Kochhar of Chandigarh fired a solid 67 to climb 22 spots to tied 33rd at three-under 213. Kochhar continues to be one of the favourites to win the PGTI Order of Merit title as he is ahead by Rs. 3,55,250 in the money list and not too far behind nearest rival Chikkarangappa on the leaderboard.

The two Jamshedpur-based professionals, Karan Taunk (four-over 220) and Kurush Heerjee (13-over 229), were placed 64th and tied 71st respectively.

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