Bengaluru: Perseverance pays. Gaganjeet Bhullar along with team-mate Ajeetesh Sandhu proved that in good measure showing that one good round can dramatically change the direction of the game.
As the Louis Philippe Cup headed towards the business end, newcomers NSports Hyderabad led by a determined Bhullar, stole the show in the city-based golf league on a sunny Friday afternoon.
While overnight leaders, Dev Chandigarh headed in the direction of a wire-to-wire victory, the Hyderabad team stamped their authority in the tournament jumping to tied second from a poor seventh. Hyderabad and Take Chennai are at the second spot with a total of 12-under-420.
Chandigarh, who returned to the tournament after a two-year hiatus, go into the final day with a comfortable five-stroke lead. The Chandigarh outfit has come together as a team, with one stepping up when the other fails, with all three contributing equally towards the team.
While Himmat Rai and Sujjan Singh came to the forefront on the first two days, Amardip Malik stepped up his show to card identical scores of 2-under-70 along with Rai, to post 4-under-140 for a total of 17-under-415.
Though Chandigarh held onto to the lead, Hyderabad showed their grit as they put themselves in contention for the title. The experienced Bhullar, who had had two mellow rounds, finally came to the party, turning in the day’s best card of six-under-66, while team-mate Sandhu produced the second best card at five-under-67.
Bhullar began with a birdie on the opening hole. From thereon the 28-year-old, set the course on fire as he saved two more strokes on the front nine, while he carded as many as four birdies on the back nine, on the 10th, 11th, 14th and 17th holes. The Amritsar golfer however failed to provide the ideal finish, misreading the line on the 18th to end with a bogey.
Meanwhile, Sandhu, struggling with the course over the past two days, finally got a hang of the greens. The 27-year-old’s card was studded with six birdies, on the 2nd, 8th, 10th, 11th, 13th, and 18th, while his only missed shot came on the par-4 9th hole.
Knowing the importance of the third round, a seasoned Bhullar said, “This round was long overdue. The striking was good and I didn’t miss a single fairway.
Though I missed a few putts, I managed to get the crucial ones. This is what we wanted as a team. We just had to be patient. The real picture always comes into play after the third round, and today’s show will definitely boost our final performance.”
Meanwhile, Chennai was boosted by the two local stars S Chikkarangappa and Khalin Joshi. While Chikka carded two-under-70, Joshi turned in the team’s best card of three-under-69.
It was a disappointing day for the home team, Zion Hills Bengaluru, who slipped from tied-second to sixth place with a total of 9-under423.
Scores (after 54 holes):
1. Dev Chandigarh 17-under-415; T2. Take Chennai 12-under-420; T2. NSports Hyderabad 12-under-420; 4. Laqshya Mumbai 11-under-421; 5. Navratna Ahmedabad 10-under-422; 6. Zion Hills Bengaluru 9-under-423; 7. Jaypee Greens Greater Noida 4-under-428; 8. DLF-The Crest Gurgaon 1-under-431