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Indian Open 2024, Day 3: Nakajima enlarges lead to four strokes; Ahlawat stays six shot behind

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Posted by Admin 30 Mar 2024

Japan's Keita Nakajima may not have matched the stellar 65s of his first two rounds, but his 68 was sufficient to extend his lead in the USD 2.25 million Indian Open from two to four shots after the third round at the DLF Golf & Country Club. Nakajima now boasts rounds of 65-65-68 for a total of 18-under.

 

 

Keita Nakajima

 

 

Nakajima, in his rookie season on the DP World Tour and making his debut in India, is being pursued by Malaysian Gavin Green. Green, the runner-up at this event in 2017, hopes to become the first Malaysian to claim victory at the Indian Open. After starting the week with a modest 72, Green surged with a 66 in the second round and a remarkable 64 in the third to tie for second place.

 

 

Tied with Green in second is Frenchman Romain Langasque, who carded a 70 despite a late double bogey on the Par-3 16th. Meanwhile, Frenchman Jeong Weon Ko sits in fourth place at 13-under alongside Matteo Manassero.

 

 

Leading the Indian contingent among the eight who made the cut is Veer Ahlawat, who carded a 69 for his third consecutive round in the 60s. Ahlawat, currently in sole sixth place at 12-under, expressed gratitude for the support of his family and home crowd on his home course.

 

 

Veer Ahlawat

 

 

Reflecting on his round, Ahlawat remarked, "The highlight of the day for me was on the 18th in front of my home crowd. My wife, my mother-in-law, and my father were all there. This being my home course helps. I mean, I know which side of the green to miss if I miss it, so that I won't drop a shot. It was a solid round. I hit the ball well, and my putting was good. My bunker play was also in shape today. I started a little slow but finished on a high note. Tomorrow, I am going to try to stay focused. Try to go low.”

 

 

Fellow DLF golfer Manu Gandas, sharing 13th place, returned a 2-under 70, while Aman Raj sits at 6-under par 210. Raj faced a setback with a snowman eight on the par-5 fourth hole, slipping to a tie for 24th place.

 

 

Nakajima has maintained his lead atop the leaderboard since day one, matching the biggest 54-hole lead of the season so far. Green's bogey-free 64 placed him at 14 under alongside Langasque, with Italian Matteo Manassero and France's Jeong Weon Ko trailing by five strokes. All eyes are on Nakajima as he seeks to secure his first DP World Tour win in just his 11th start.

 

 

"One more day," Nakajima said confidently. "I will try my best. Keep the same tempo; all the same, just keep going. I feel very confident in my game. My ball-striking and swing have been pretty good this week. I had great experiences in my amateur career, but I’m a professional now. I played the Japan Tour last year and a few other events where I played well. It was a great experience. I’ll just keep going."

 

 

Starting two shots behind Nakajima, Langasque birdied the first hole and engaged in a back-and-forth battle with Nakajima throughout the front nine. Despite a strong challenge, Langasque fell four strokes behind Nakajima after a late double bogey on the 16th.

 

 

Gavin Green

 

 

Green's impressive performance included birdies on the fifth and sixth holes, an eagle chip-in on the eighth, and another birdie on the ninth, propelling him into contention. 

 

"It was a solid round," Green remarked. "Lots of fairways, gave myself lots of luck, and made some putts. That’s the difference; you’ve got to hit fairways out here. It’s intimidating off the tee. I felt like today was a nice step in the right direction. It was just a solid day."

 

 

READ MORE: Stellar Field Set for Indian Open 2024: International Stars and Past Champions Ready to Shine

READ MORE: Scheffler Clinches Back-to-Back Players Championship Titles, Seizes US $4.5 Million Prize Purse

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