Rashid Khan overcame adversity, interruptions, tough conditions and strong competition to take control of the DGC Open on Saturday. The third round is often called ‘moving day’ in golf and Rashid certainly made his move with a round of four-under 68 that put him in the lead, at 11-under, by three shots going into Sunday.
Rain added to the challenge of the Delhi Golf Course layout and also forced a 45-minute break due to the threat of lightning, with the third day’s play ending in light rain. Rashid also had to overcome a dodgy start after making a double bogey on the opening hole. But the 32-year-old is used to dealing with adversity by now, returning to the tour after a back injury.
“These kinds of rounds give a lot of confidence. When I shot a bogey-free round on day one, I was happy and today after the double on the first hole, when you come back this strong, it gives you a lot of momentum,” Rashid said after his round.
Playing at his home course, Rashid Khan had a dream round today at #TheDGCOpen, holds top spot on the leaderboard going into the final day.
🗣️”The weather didn’t really affect me. I was in that zone where I was just focusing on one thing.”@asiantourgolf @mastercardindia pic.twitter.com/Qfvzk7Tmfu
— The DGC Open (@TheDGCOpen) March 18, 2023
He bounced back immediately with birdies on the 2nd, 4th, 5th and 7th holes, and two more (11th and 14th) on the back nine.
Rashid’s closest challenger going into the final day is S Chikkarangappa, who led at the halfway mark. He couldn’t get his putter to cooperate on Saturday and carding a round of 74 to drop to 8-under. In a leaderboard dominated by Indians, Honey Baisoya (65) was the star of the day, moving to tied third, from tied 49th overnight, at 6-under after a bogey-free round. Baisoya is level with compatriot Om Prakash Chouhan (73) and Thai Chapchai Nirat (71).
“I hit two bushes today and then with those, I made two bogies and the rest of the day, I made sure that I was in there. So yeah, it’s okay,” Chikkarangappa was philosophical at the end of the day.
Four Indians reside among the top five on the leaderboard, with eight in the top 20, including proven winners Gaganjeet Bhullar and SSP Chawrasia. Only two players among the top eight – Rashid and Chapchai – have previously won on the Asian Tour. The Thai was in lead for a brief while, before stuttering on the back nine with three bogeys and a double bogey.
England’s Matt Killen (74) and the Filipinos Miguel Tabuena (72) and Justin Quiban (73) were in a tie for sixth place on five-under, one shot better than Thailand’s Prayad Marksaeng and Sadom Kaewkanjana as well as Ian Snyman of South Africa, sharing ninth place.