Om Prakash Chouhan was the top Indian with a 6-under 66 carrying him tied second at 13-under 203 at the 300,000 US dollar Black Bull Challenge 2023, here on Saturday. He is 13-under and just two shots behind the new leader, Italy's Lorenzo Scalise (65).
Scalise was 15-under, while Chouhan was tied second alongside Spain's Victor Pastor (67), England's Ashley Chesters (68) and Sweden's Rikard Karlberg (69) in a four-way tie for the second spot, all at 13-under.
Aman Raj (71) continued to lurk in the top-10. He was placed tied ninth at 10-under 206.
Lorenzo Scalise (68-68-65), on his maiden trip to India has posted only one bogey in 54 holes.
Chouhan (70-67-66), a seven-time winner on the PGTI, had a quiet start with just one birdie on the front-nine. The Mhow-based Om Prakash then began to gather steam with birdie-eagle on the 10th and 11th making a 16-feet conversion on the latter. Chouhan then stumbled with a double-bogey on the 12th where he found the hazard.
'OP' as Chouhan is known, then came up with a fantastic rear-guard action by sinking long-distance birdie putts on the 14th, 16th, 17th and 18th to rise into contention.
"After a good start, the double-bogey on the 12th was quite disappointing but fortunately I didn't let that affect my game. I was pleased with the very strong finish. I've been working on the mental aspect of my game as errors on the course used to affect me a lot in the past. But I'm in a much better mental space now to handle such situations," the 36-year-old Chouhan said.
"My driving and iron shots are my strength at the moment but I know once the putts start rolling in for me I can even shoot a round of eight-under. Importantly, I've begun the year with some good results, three top-10s out of four starts, which has given me a lot of confidence," he added.
Aman Raj (67-68-71) mixed five birdies with four bogeys in his round of 71 to slip six spots to tie ninth. India's Aryan Roopa Anand (72) was tied 17th at eight-under 208.
Among the other prominent Indian names, Udayan Mane (72) was tied 43rd at five-under 211 and Khalin Joshi (74) was tied 61st at one-under 215.
Ireland's Niall Kearney, Welshman Oliver Farr and Scotsman Craig Howie share sixth place on 11 under par, while Italian Lorenzo Gagli, Norwegian Elias Bertheussen, Indian Aman Raj and Scotland's Liam Johnston are a shot further back in ninth.
( 438 Words)