Noida (Uttar Pradesh)[India], April 22 (ANI): Manu Gandas of Gurugram and local lad Amardeep Malik of Noida continued to be the top title contenders for the third day of Delhi-NCR Open 2022 being played here at the Noida Golf Course.
On a day that was a lot cooler due to the overcast conditions but much more windy compared to the previous two days, Manu Gandas (65-69-67) and Amardeep Malik (65-67-69) were tied for the third-round lead at 15-under 201 with a four-shot advantage over the rest of the field.
While Gandas struck a determined five-under 67 to climb one spot and join Malik in the lead once again after round one, Malik produced a fine three-under 69 to be at the top of the leaderboard for the third day in succession.
A fascinating finale lies in prospect as Manu has been in great form with a win and two other top-10s this season to be placed fifth on the PGTI Order of Merit, while Amardeep enjoys the advantage of playing at his home course where he has won both his previous titles.
Bangladesh's Zamal Hossain Mollah (69) occupies the third place at 11-under 205. Panchkula's Angad Cheema carded the day's lowest score of 66 to end the day in fourth place at 10-under 206. Noida's Vikrant Chopra too returned a 66 to be placed tied sixth at eight-under 208.
Manu Gandas, a two-time winner on the PGTI, was struggling to read the greens early in the round as he missed short putts on the first three holes which also led to a bogey on the third. However, the 26-year-old Gandas quickly addressed the issue and found the hole for his three birdies that followed on the front nine. Manu brought his chipping into the game on the back nine where his chip shots were instrumental in earning him three more birdies and two important par-saves.
Manu said, "At the start of the round, I wasn't reading the greens well. But I sorted that out later on and began rolling in the putts. I didn't hit as many greens today but was just off the green on many occasions and I made good chip-putts there. I've been consistent through the week, especially with my ball-striking. I'm just following my process and staying in the present by taking it one shot at a time. The two par-saves on the 16th and 18th came at crucial junctures today that kept my rhythm going and contributed to my good score. I feel as long as I'm putting well, I will have a good chance in the last round."
Amardeep Malik, the overnight sole leader by two shots, mixed five birdies with two bogeys on Friday. The 36-year-old player capitalized on three of the four par-5s, chipped in for a birdie on the 10th and landed his approach within afoot for a tap-in birdie on the 12th. Malik's long-range birdie putts narrowly missed the pins on the last two holes.
Malik said, "I played well and had a good round but just didn't make a lot of putts. I missed a lot of birdie opportunities on the front nine. But rest everything was good. The key going into the final round would be to just focus on what I'm doing and also draw inspiration from the good memories of my two previous wins at this course. Even though it was a lot cooler today and not energy-sapping like the previous two rounds, the wind was big enough a challenge to drain one mentally. My father has been following me on the course for the last two days. He's come to the course after four or five years. So I'm looking forward to him being around in the final round too as family support is always comforting."
Chandigarh's Abhijit Singh Chadha (72) is in fifth place at nine-under 207. (ANI)