The second edition of the Jeev Milkha Singh Invitational seems to be heading towards a fascinating finish as multiple contenders emerged on Day 3 of the Rs 1.5 crore event being played at the Chandigarh Golf Club.
PGTI Order of Merit leader Rashid Khan of Delhi, who has been in great form this season, staked claim to his fourth title of the year with an error-free five-under-67 that propelled him to the top of the leaderboard at 14-under-202.
Chandigarh's Ajeetesh Sandhu, fresh from a recent joint runner-up finish on the Asian Tour, also fired a 67 on Saturday to join Rashid Khan as the co-leader.
Karandeep Kochhar will be the second Chandigarh player in the leader group on Sunday since he closed round three in third place at 13-under-203. Kochhar, the runner-up last year, returned a steady 71 in the penultimate round to keep himself in the race.
Rashid Khan (71-64-67), who matched the course record of 64 on day two to move within three of the lead in tied third, didn't concede a shot for the second straight day. Khan, the winner of PGTI's last event in Chandigarh in May this year, had a slow start on Saturday but then gradually built momentum.
Ajeetesh Sandhu (66-69-67), also lying tied third and three off the lead at the halfway stage, enjoyed a solid day with a top-notch 67 that raised local hopes.
Karandeep Kochhar (65-67-71), who was in the lead for the first two days, slipped to third place in round three after a sedate 71.
Sri Lankan Mithun Perera, the overnight joint leader along with Kochhar, dropped to fourth place at 11-under-205 after his 73 in the third round.
Akshay Sharma (66) and Aadil Bedi (68) were the other two Chandigarh players in the top 10. Akshay occupied sixth at nine-under-207 while Aadil was a further shot back in seventh.
Gurugram-based Manu Gandas shot the best round of the day, a seven-under-65, to move into tied eighth at seven-under-209.
Among the other players bunched in tied eighth were Indian star Jyoti Randhawa (69) and Bengaluru's Viraj Madappa (71).
Rory Hie (69) of Indonesia, the leading foreign name in the field, was in tied 20th at five-under-211. Reigning champion Chikkarangappa (76) of Bengaluru was placed tied 40th at one-over-217.
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