Veer Ahlawat soars to the top at CG Open 2017
Mumbai, December 8, 2017: Delhi’s Veer Ahlawat took a flight to the top of the leaderboard with a superb eight-under-62 in round three of the CG Open 2017, a Rs. 1 crore event being played at the Bombay Presidency Golf Club (BPGC) in Mumbai. The 21-year-old Ahlawat, searching for his maiden title, led the field by two shots at a total of 15-under-195.
Delhi’s Rashid Khan, a two-time runner-up at the CG Open, came up with a scorching error-free 61, the week’s lowest score, to climb into tied second at 13-under-197 along with defending champion Shamim Khan (64) of Delhi and M Dharma (64) of Bengaluru.
Veer Ahlawat (66-67-62), who lost in a playoff to the experienced Shamim Khan at PGTI’s last event in Assam two weeks back, put himself in contention once again with a round featuring two eagles, five birdies and a bogey that catapulted him from overnight tied fourth to the first position.
Ahlawat, playing only his second season as a professional, was two off the lead at the start of the day but made his moves early with an eagle chip-in on the first followed by birdies on the third and fourth. He continued to be four-under for the day till the 14th before picking up four more shots on the last four holes.
Veer, currently 16th in the PGTI Order of Merit, made his second chip-in of the day for birdie on the 15th and produced his second eagle of the day with a seven feet conversion on the 18th.
The six foot three inch tall Ahlawat said, “My short game was fantastic today, especially my chipping. I’ve sunk four eagles so far this week and that’s been one of the highlights for me.
“My performance at the last event gave me a lot of confidence. I’ve been driving and striking it well over the first three days so the focus in the final round will be on putting.
“I couldn’t capitalize on my opportunities during the Digboi event despite leading till the end. But I learnt a lot from that experience. I won’t put too much pressure on myself in round four and will play it like any other round.”
Two-time Asian Tour winner Rashid Khan (69-67-61) skyrocketed from overnight tied 20th to tied second as a result of his 61 that fell just one short of Om Prakash Chouhan’s 2014 course record of 10-under-60.
Rashid, who lost in two playoffs to finish second at the CG Open in 2012 and 2013, made three conversions from 20 to 40 feet during his third round.
The 2016 PGTI Order of Merit champion Khan, who now has a third attempt at winning the CG Open, said, “After three consecutive birdies on the 10th, 11th and 12th, I knew I could go really deep. I thought if I could be seven-under after 15 holes it would give me a good chance to reach nine-under for the day since the last two par-5s, the 16th and 18th, were also scoring holes. I managed to execute that plan well.
“I now want to make up for my two playoff losses here and set the record straight at the CG Open by finally registering a win this week. I’m quite confident at the moment as I’m hitting the ball where I want to and also making my putts.
“I’d like to carry the positive thoughts from today’s round into the final round in order to repeat this performance.”
Reigning champion Shamim Khan (70-63-64) rose from tied fourth to tied second aided by a 64 that saw him make four birdie conversions from a range of 15 to 35 feet. He thus positioned himself well to launch his title defence on Saturday. Shamim will also be looking for a second straight win having triumphed at the last event in Digboi two weeks back. A top result here could see him reemerge as the PGTI Order of Merit leader.
M Dharma too jumped up two places to tied second with a 64 on Friday. Ahmedabad-based Udayan Mane (66), the PGTI Order of Merit leader, occupied fifth place at 12-under-198. Second round leader Akshay Sharma of Chandigarh dropped to tied 16th after a 73 that saw his score move to six-under-204.
Mumbai’s Anil Bajrang Mane (74) ended the day in tied 35th at one-under-209. Akash Modi, the other Mumbai golfer to make the cut, was in tied 60th place at seven-over-217.