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Noida, 09 Feb 2017

Shankar Das keeps his lead, enjoys one-shot advantage ahead of final round

Shamim Khan on the leader’s tail

Shankar Das will look to regain his winning touch come the final round of the PGTI Players Championship at Noida Golf Course. The Kolkata pro fired a rock-solid three-under-69 in the penultimate round on Thursday to lead the tournament by one stroke at 12-under-204.

He will be chased by Delhi’s Shamim Khan on the final day, a two-time winner at the Noida Golf Course. Shamim shot the day’s best four-under-68 to lie second at 11-under-205.

While Shankar and Shamim will be the top contenders in the last round, Delhi’s Honey Baisoya (69) in third at 10-under-206 and Chandigarh’s Ajeetesh Sandhu (70) in fourth at nine-under-207 will also be in the reckoning.

Shankar Das (67-68-69), the overnight leader by two strokes, retained his lead on the third day thus raising his hopes of a long-awaited title. Shankar, who last won in November 2015, had early breakthroughs as he birdied the first and third holes for the second day in succession making a long putt on the latter.

The 33-year-old, a winner of six professional titles, looked in total control when he produced an extraordinary tee shot on the par-3 10th to tap-in for his third birdie. He then suffered a minor blip, bogeying the 12th, but soon recovered ground with another birdie on the 14th.

“It was a steady round. I performed well with the 3-wood and hit it close on a number of occasions. The 3-wood has been my strong point this week. But those long eagle conversions continued to elude me. I need some luck for those putts to roll in.

“It’s going to be a tight contest in round four as there are three players within three strokes of the lead. Shamim in particular will be very competitive as he knows this course well. I will have to plan my round well. It’s been a long time since I last won and I’m now really eager to win another trophy,” said Shankar.

Shamim Khan (66-71-68), who was overnight tied second, two behind Das, reduced the latter’s lead to one shot with a determined effort of 68 on day three. Shamim sank three long birdie putts and landed his tee shot within three feet for another birdie on the par-3 fifth.

Shamim said, “It’ll be an interesting final day as Shankar and me are playing together for the third time this week. We both know each other’s game well and are equally experienced. 

“I feel the fact that I have won twice here at the Noida Golf Course is a big plus for me. I have also enjoyed success very recently with a victory in Mumbai in November. That adds to my confidence. However, I need to improve on my tee shots to have a chance.”  

Honey Baisoya (70-67-69) and Ajeetesh Sandhu (68-69-70), two and three shots off the lead respectively, will also be among the contenders on Friday.

Panchkula’s Angad Cheema lies fifth at six-under-210 while Chandigarh’s Harendra Gupta is a further shot back in sixth.

Gaurav Pratap Singh in tied seventh at four-under-212 is the highest-placed Noida golfer. He shares seventh place with Gaurav Ghei of Delhi, the first round joint leader, and Gurgaon-based Pranav Kaul.

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Formed in 2006, Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) is the recognised official body of professional golf in India. PGTI's objective is to promote professional golf in the country, as well as to give players an opportunity to be involved in the decision making on all aspects of the game. Headed by Mr. Gautam Thapar (President), PGTI's governing body comprises leading Indian golf professionals. PGTI currently has over 300 members.

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