KOLKATA, NOV 13 ; Overnight leader Viraj Madappa shot his third consecutive red digits to all but assure himself of a magnificent win the Tata Steel West Bengal Amateur 2014 after carding a one-under par 69 at the Par – 70 Tollygunge Club here. With a gross score of ten-under par 200, the local lad has extended his lead at the top to six strokes at the end of the penultimate round.
Holding on to his second place is Noida’s Samarth Dwivedi who lost ground on the leader after coming in with a card of two-over par 72 for the day. Patna based Aman Raj briefly shared the second place when aced the 159 yard Par 3 2nd hole but six bogeys and two birdies later he signed a two-over par 72 for the day and be placed tied third with Trishul Chinnappa at a gross of two-under par 208.
Viraj, looking relaxed from the start, went about his business with four pars before he dropped his first stroke of the week on the Par 4 5th hole. He hit back with a birdie on the very next hole to extend his lead to four strokes over Samarth after six holes. He dropped two further strokes on the 7th and the 9th holes and with Samarth hitting par-birdie-par, the 16 year old’s lead was cut to one stroke at the turn. The youngster then broke the shackles with birdies on the 10th, 13th and the 14th holes along with six pars for three-under par back nine to stretch his lead to six strokes. He was aided in part by Samarth’s loss of concentration, dropping strokes on the 11th, 12th and the 18th holes preceded by a birdie on the 10th hole.
“I lost a bit of momentum after the bogey on the 5th but the turn came at the right time as I could re-gather my thoughts and build on the lead on the back nine.” Said Viraj. He added, “A six stroke lead looks big on paper but it can change very quickly and I hope to finish at the top tomorrow.”
Gurkirat Singh, another local lad went low today and brought in the best card of the day when he shot a scintillating six-under par 64 to move up 22 places on the leaderboard to fifteenth. He rolled in birdie putts on the 4thm 7th, 10th, 13th, 16th and the 17th holes to go bogey free and push himself into points contention.
Top scores (after 54 holes):
200 Viraj Madappa (65,66,69); 206 Samarth Dwivedi (68,66,72); 208 Aman Raj (68,68,72), Trishul Chinnappa (71,63,74); 209 Zubin Nijhawan (70,71,68), Pratap Atwal (72,68,69); 210 Udayan Mane (72,71,67); 211 Vikram Rana (72,70,69); 212 B. R. Raja (70,69,73); 213 Arjun Sharma (73,72,68), Anant Singh Ahlawat (71,73,69), Pukhraj Singh Gill (71,68,74); 214 Md. Wasil (72,72,70), Hemendra Chaudhary (74,69,71); 215 Gurkirat Singh (74,77,64), Sunit Chowrasia (68,72,7