New Delhi: Golf is largely about controlling the ball in the air. The longer and better you flight the little white sphere, the stronger your hand. Pace-setters Shiv Kapur and Paul Peterson underscored this most effectively on Day Three of the $400,000 Panasonic Open India at the Delhi Golf Club here on Saturday.
Both took different routes though. While Peterson floated his third shot on the par-5 18th with a little chip for eagle, Kapur sank a long putt to match the American not just in the result, but also the outcome as they maintained a one-shot lead atop the leaderboard at 13 under par 203. Hard on their heels was the threatening Shamim Khan (204) with former winner S.S.P. Chawrasia a shot further adrift on 205 along with five-time Indian Tour winner Om Prakash Chouhan and the relatively unknown Sudhir Sharma, formerly of Meerut.
Just two shots separate the top six, setting the stage for a gripping Sunday finish.
Such has been Indian domination of the leaderboard that of the top 20 on Saturday, only four were overseas names — Peterson, Thaworn Wiratchant (Thailand, -10), Scott Barr (Australia, -6) and Prom Meesawat (Thailand, -5). A tournament that has seen five home winners out of six has a massive pack jostling for glory including more than a few who have never won a professional title.
Chouhan, T-3 alongside Sudhir Sharma, has five wins while Sharma has not even won on the PGTI Tour. At T8, Divyanshu Bajaj of the Royal Calcutta Golf Club and Aman Raj of Patna have also not won anywhere, though Chandigarh’s Karandeep Kochar won a pro event while still an amateur. Another tyro in the bunch, Honey Baisoya, has won four PGTI titles. The youth brigade is truly pushing hard for space in the sun.
Still and all, attention was all on the leaders as the sun slipped away westwards. Peterson bookended his round with eagles that boosted a somewhat untidy front nine holes, while Kapur holed a 25-foot putt to keep the American company with an eagle of his own.
The last time the Kapur held a share of the lead on the final day of a tournament at the DGC, was at the 2010 Sail Open where he finished second to Swede Rikard Karlberg. The local man is still searching for his first pro win at the DGC.
Kapur said later he had struggled for a good part of the day. He opened with a bogey on the Par-5 first and then barely managed to save a par on the 10th before a double bogey ruined the 11th.
“It was a hard fight and I struggled off the tees. I hit it into the bush on the first and made a bogey. I hit it again into the bush on 11 and made a double there. So it was nice to finish with an eagle and salvage something out from the day.”
“I’m feeling confident,” Indian Open champion Chawrasia said. “I’m playing well and I’m looking forward to the final day. I know this course well and am not far off the lead.” This week, the field of 126 had 76 Indians and as many as 49 of them made the cut, which fell at 2-over 144.