Shiv Kapur has edge after third round of Jeev Milkha Singh Invitational

Shiv Kapur enjoyed a slender one-shot lead on top of a packed leaderboard with multiple contenders in the fray going into the final round of the Jeev Milkha Singh Invitational 2021.

Kapur had a one-shot advantage at 17-under 199 at the end of the penultimate round of the Rs 1.5 crore prize money event being played at the Chandigarh Golf Club.

The Dubai-based Kapur (64-68-67), a four-time winner on the Asian Tour and one of the pre-tournament favourites, built on his solid previous rounds with a determined five-under 67 on Saturday to be the leader for the third day running.

Chandigarh lad Aadil Bedi (68-65-67), a winner on the PGTI in early 2020, kept local hopes alive as he went error-free for the second straight day during his 67 to move up one spot to the second position at 16-under 200.

Delhi’s Rashid Khan (65-67-69), a two-time Asian Tour winner, slipped out of the overnight joint lead and dropped to third place at 15-under 201 following his 69.

Delhi’s Kshitij Naveed Kaul (69) occupied the fourth place at 13-under 203.

Gurugram-based Dhruv Sheoran carded the day’s best score of eight-under 64 to climb 10 places to tied fifth at 12-under 204 and was sharing the spot with Olympian Udayan Mane (67).

The 39-year-old Kapur, looking for his first title on the PGTI, had a brisk start as he made four birdies on the first eight holes which included three conversions from a range of 10 to 25 feet.

Kapur, who was bogey-free through his first 44 holes of the tournament, then hit a rough patch dropping three bogeys in exchange for a lone birdie between the ninth and 12th holes. He missed a couple of par putts on that stretch including a two-footer on the 12th.

Kapur, originally hailing from Delhi, rallied with three birdies thereafter as his accurate wedge shots set up short birdie putts on the 13th, 16th, and 17th that gave him the sole lead for the first time this week.

Among Aadil Bedi’s five birdies, the ones that stood out were his 40-feet conversion on the ninth and his chip-in from the bunker on the 13th. Bedi has so far dropped just one double-bogey in the tournament and there are no bogeys on his card.

Rashid Khan made gains with two birdies on the first 10 holes followed by an eagle on the 13th. He conceded a bogey on the 16th but came back with a superb recovery from the trees to salvage a par on the 17th and keep himself in contention.

Besides Bedi, there were three other Chandigarh professionals in the top-10 as Yuvraj Singh Sandhu and Abhijit Singh Chadha were tied seventh at 11-under 205 while defending champion and PGTI Order of Merit leader Karandeep Kochhar climbed 12 spots to tied ninth at nine-under 207 after his round of 65.

Among the other marquee names in the field, former champion Ajeetesh Sandhu of Chandigarh and SSP Chawrasia were both in tied 11th at eight-under 208 while Jyoti Randhawa was another three shots back in tied 18th. Former champion Chikkarangappa of Bengaluru was tied 23rd at four-under 212. Gaganjeet Bhullar was tied 34th at two-under 214.