New Delhi, Aug 28 (UNI) Overnight leader Rashid Khan missed a birdie while strong contender Gagan Verma missed a par on the finishing hole yet both ended up with same score of 1-under par 71 for the day.
As a resultant, Rashid's lead of five strokes was in tact at the end of the third round of the LG Northern India Amateur.
The 17-year-old's 54-hole total stood at 6-under 210.
Gagan had to be content at being second at 215 while Saurabh Bahuguna moved into the third position signing a card of level par 72 for a tournament total of 220 even as the players brought in high scores.
Pawan Kumar (Sr) was placed foruth at 225 while youngsters Wasim Khan, Kanishk Madan and Moin Malak shared the fifth position at 226. Tarun Ghogale and Jasjeet Singh were tied for the eighth place at 228 while Rahul Bajaj and Abhinav Lohan shared the 10th position at 229.
It was an interesting battle between the young and the experienced- there was Rashid, eager to show his mettle in taking the aggressive route while the experienced Gagan was biding his time to make a birdie, lest he committed any mistake. What was commendable was the way Rashid held on to his nerves even when he was challenged.
Although the youngster began with a birdie, he immediately lost the stroke on the very next hole.
However, he made amends on the par-4 fourth to remain at 1-under for his front nine. Although he missed birdies, he did not mind as long as he did not lose any strokes.
''The way I was putting, at one point I thought I would not be able to hole even a 2-footer. Luckily my irons saved the day for me,'' admitted Rashid.
On the back nine, the lean golfer made a birdie on the par-3 12 for the second consecutive day. However, on the next par-3 the 17th, Rashid ended up losing a stroke and could not convert a birdie on the 18th to stay at 1-under.
''It was quite frustrating on the greens,'' said the leader.
''Although I have a five-shot lead, I will not take it easy. I would like to play my natural game,'' said a confident Rashid.
Meanwhile, Gagan made a solitary birdie on his front nine on the tough par-3 seventh. With another birdie on the opening hole of his front nine, Gagan was two-under for the day and it remained unchanged until the 18th where he made a bogey and lost an opportunity to close in on the leader.
''It is a tough task given the form of Rashid but I will certainly go all out to try and wrest it from him,'' said Gagan.
It would be interesting to see whether Rashid sustains his form or Gagan makes a fight of it for the rest of the others will be fighting for minor placings.
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