Local favourite Anshul Patel struck the day’s lowest score of five-under 67 to rise into the joint lead along with Patna’s Aman Raj (70) in round three of the Rs. 1 crore Gujarat Open Golf Championship 2023 being played at the Kalhaar Blues & Greens Golf Club in Ahmedabad.
Anshul Patel (66-71-67), playing at his home course, was tied at the top with Aman Raj (66-68-70) at a total of 12-under 204.
There was daylight between the two 27-year-olds at the top of the pack and the rest of the field as Bengaluru-based rookie Aryan Roopa Anand (71-69-69) had the next best total of seven-under 209 that placed him third, five shots behind the joint leaders.
Anshul Patel, who was the joint first round leader along with Aman Raj before slipping to second spot, three shots behind the latter in round two, had a quiet front-nine on Friday with two birdies and a bogey where he hit his wedges close to the pin to pick up a couple of shots.
Anshul’s surge began with his crucial six-feet par-save on the 10th. Thereafter, there was no looking back for the Ahmedabad-based pro as he collected five birdies, leaving himself three tap-ins, at the cost of a lone bogey.
The left-handed Patel, searching for his maiden title, said, “I hit it close and gave myself a lot of birdie chances but didn’t convert those. But on the 10th, I was in the rough and chipped out well and followed that up with a good up and down from 87 yards for a par. That was the turning point for me today as it calmed my nerves.
“I then told myself that I’m in such a good position because I have played well enough to deserve it. I then just took one shot at a time and didn’t think too far ahead.”
Aman Raj, the overnight sole leader by three shots, missed a lot of putts on a day he could manage just three birdies in exchange for a bogey.
Aman, a winner on the PGTI in 2018, said, “As compared to my first two rounds, the putts didn’t roll in today. I didn’t have any momentum going. It was a test of patience but I’m glad to have hung in there and ended the day with a birdie.”
Khalin Joshi was tied 20th at one-over 217 while Udayan Mane was a further shot back in tied 24th place.
Ahmedabad’s Varun Parikh was 31st at four-over 220.
Noida-based 15-year-old amateur Aarav D Shah was tied 42nd at seven-over 223.