Ashok maintains lead in Crompton Greaves golf


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Mumbai : Ashok Kumar was on fire Saturday as he carded another six-under-par 64 to record the lead during the Rupees-seven-million Crompton Greaves Open with a total of 15-under-par 195 here.

Ashok, who is close to breaking the existing tournament record of 16-under-par at the par-70 Bombay Presidency Golf Club, played aggressively and carded birdies on the first, second, fourth and sixth holes.

But a bogey on the par-four seventh hole, where he found the right greenside bunker with his second shot and missed a short putt for par, saw him make the turn at three-under-par 32.

Ashok bounced back with a string of birdies on the 11th, 12th and 13th holes, dropped a shot on the par-three 17th after hitting the right bunker off the tee but a final birdie on the last resulted in his second consecutive six-under-par 64 in as many days, taking his 54-hole total to 15-under-par 195.

"I am very happy with my hitting and I believe in myself, which is what is helping me to play so well. I plan to repeat the same game plan tomorrow (Sunday)," said Ashok, who looks all set to card his fourth victory this season.

Opening day's joint leader Gaganjeet Bhullar had a frustrating day.

Bhullar's round consisted of birdies on the fifth, seventh, 16th and 18th holes and bogies on the third, sixth, eighth and 17th holes that saw him card a level-par 70, taking his tournament total to seven-under-par 203.

"I made four birdies and four bogeys and could do not better than par. I hit everything left today and missed four short putts – from within seven to eight feet," he said.

Bhullar has his work cut out, as he lags behind Ashok by eight strokes.

Consistent Shamim Khan is a further two behind Bhullar with a total of five-under-par, 205 after he shot a 68 today.

B.G. Lalith Kumara carded a three-under-par, 67 after two rounds of 70 and is currently placed fourth at 207.

Uttam Singh Mundy, Digvijay Singh and Amardip Sinh Malik are tied for fifth place at two-under-par 208.

"It was a tough day out there for me and I did not score as well as I did during the last two days," said Uttam, who carded a two-over-par 72 in the third round.

However, Digvijay Singh was content with his performance after he shot a three-under-par 67, with birdies on the fourth, fifth, seventh and 12th holes.

His card was marred by one bogey, on the par-three 17th hole where he found a bad lie after hitting hit tee shot to the left of the 17th green.

"I could have played better as I missed a lot of putts," said Singh.

Niel Mudra leads the amateur's after he carded a four-over-par 74 and is seven strokes clear of his nearest contender.

Scores (after 54 holes): 195 Ashok Kumar (67, 64, 64); 203 Gaganjeet Bhullar (64, 69, 70); 205 Shamim Khan (70, 67, 68); 207 B.G. Lalith Kumara (70, 70, 67); 208 Uttam Singh Mundy (68, 68, 72), Amardip Sinh Malik (70, 67, 71), Digvijay Singh (70, 71, 67); 210 Yusuf Ali (66, 70, 74), Mukesh Kumar (65, 74, 71) and Vijay Kumar (64, 76, 70)