Bengaluru's Khalin Joshi fired the day's best score of seven-under-63 to share the third round lead with Shubhankar Sharma of Panchkula who posted a five-under-65 at the CG Open. With totals of 13-under-197, Khalin and Shubhankar enjoy a one-shot advantage heading into the final round of the Rs. 1 core event at the Bombay Presidency Golf Club (BPGC). There was a four-way tie for third place between Delhi golfers Rashid Khan and Kapil Kumar, Chandigarh's Ajeetesh Sandhu and Sanjeev Kumar of Lucknow at 12-under-198. Fifteen-year-old junior amateur Aadil Bedi of Chandigarh, the youngest player in the field, shot a 70 in round three to close the day in tied 19th at six-under-204. Local professional Anil Bajrang Mane also took a share of 19th place after his round of 68. Gurgaon-based rookie Veer Ahlawat aced the sixth during his round of 66 that placed him 24th at five-under-205. Joshi (67-67-63), who was tied 12th and five off the lead after round two, came roaring back into contention with a bogey-free 63 on Friday. The 24-year-old Joshi, who will be fighting to retain his Asian Tour card at the Panasonic Open India next week, mixed seven birdies with a couple of excellent par-saves during round three. Joshi, also in contention for the Rolex Ranking title this year with his current Order of Merit position being fifth, made a charge for his second title of the season with four birdie conversions from 15 to 20 feet. He also recovered well for pars after hitting the water tank on the fourth and finding the bunker on the 14th. "My putting stroke was much better today as compared to the first two days. However, I hope it is at its best in the final round.
The two par saves on the fourth and 14th were crucial for my round. This is an important week for me. A win here will give me loads of confidence for next week's Asian Tour event in Delhi where I need to do well to keep my card in Asia," Joshi said. Shubhankar (63-69-65) moved up from overnight tied third to joint first after a splendid 65 on day three. Shubhankar, the opening round leader, made early gains on Friday sinking three tap-in birdies on the first four holes before a three-putt resulted in his only bogey of the day on the seventh. He ensured he ended the day as the joint leader thanks to a late surge where he picked up a birdie on the 16th and an eagle from 25 feet on the 18th. Rashid Khan (64), Kapil Kumar (67), Ajeetesh Sandhu (66) and Sanjeev Kumar (65) were bunched together in tied fourth at 12-under-198. Fifteen-year-old amateur Aadil Bedi (67-67-70) carded a 70 to be placed tied 19th at six-under-204. Anil Bajrang Mane (68) also took a share of 19th place. Veer Ahlawat who made a hole-in-one on the sixth during his round of 66 was in 24th place at five-under-205. Defending champion Ashok Kumar (70) of Delhi was a further shot behind in tied 25th. Akash Modi (76) occupied tied 45th place at two-over-212.