Jakarta: India’s medal chances in golf took a big hit on the third day as all four players went over-par round in the third round of the men’s golf competition on Saturday. With Rayhan Thomas (73), Aadil Bedi (74), Kshitij Naveed Kaul (76) and Hari Mohan Singh (77) all coming to grief, they were left fighting back on the back nine to salvage their rounds. Of them Thomas managed best at 73.
India, who had a total of 12-under from three best cards to be second after first two days, had a total of 7-over from the three best cards on Saturday and slipped to 5-under and Tied-5th place.
Though India has an very outside chance to strike in team, there is a better chance in individual, where both Thomas and Bedi are only four shots behind the second placed players, Sadom Kaewkanjana of Thailand and Oh Seungtaek.
In team standings, the consistent Keita Nakajima followed up his 68-68 with 70 and his colleagues Daiki Imano (69) and Takumi Kanaya (73) ensured there was no disaster and they moved to -22 and five ahead of South Korea who were 17-under and China on the strength of Yuan Yehchun (65), Chen Jing (65) and Chen Yilong (68) moved from +2 to -14 and third place. Ironically, their best place Andy Zhang, has been off-form this week and managed only 72-73-73.
Even in individual standings, Rayhan Thomas dropped from T-5 to T-10 and is now 3-under 213 while Aadil Bedi, T-3 overnight also slipped to T-10. Kshitij is now 1-over 217 and T-21.
Nakajima, the reigning Australian Amateur champion, who is expected to turn pro anytime, maintained his pole position with a steady card of 2-under 70 that him repair his round with three birdies in last five holes to open a three-shot lead over China’s Cheng Jin, who after winning the 2015 Asia-Pacific Amateur Championships played the Masters the following year.
Tenth tee starter Cheng, after modest 70-72 on first two days, had seven birdies and a double in his 67, and rose from T-13 to shared second at a total of 7-under with South Korea’s Oh Seung Teak (67), who did likewise.
However, the low card of the day came from Yuan Yechun, who shot 7-under 65 after 72-72 on first two days when he was T-40. Starting from tenth tee, his third round had eight birdies, including three from 16th to 18th, and he rose to T-10.
Thomas and Bedi said they were alright with their hitting but it was on the greens that they let go of too many opportunities and missed a lot of 5-7 footers for birdies and pars. Yet there was also the eagle-2 on Par-4 where Thomas holed his second shot from 168 yards. “That’s golf, you hole out from the fairway and then miss four footers,” said Thomas with a wry smile.
In the women’s section, India’s trio had another disappointing day with Ridhima Dilawari shooting a second successive round of even par 72 to finish with a total of 5-over 221 with rounds of 77-72-72 and T-20th.