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Mukesh now 4 strokes ahead

Calcutta: Defending champion Rafiq Ali and Amritinder Singh kept their competition alive as they shot themselves within sniffing distance of Mukesh Kumar’s leadership on the penultimate day of the Royal Challenge Grand Prix at Tollygunge Club on Thursday.

Overnight leader Mukesh carded a penultimate round of four-under 66 to get to 14-under-par 196, en route to maintain the lead. Rafiq and Amritinder finished the day four-strokes behind the leader, at 10-under-par 200.

A round of four-under 66 by Rahul Ganapathy saw him move up the leaderboard to fourth position with a total to nine-under-par 201.

“My game is good but my putting troubled me today,” Mukesh admitted later. “Four strokes is not a very comfortable lead and I have two dangerous players on my heels,” added the player just 18 holes away from his sixth victory in the current season.

Mukesh, in fact, gave the duo an opportunity to catch up after he bogeyed the first. However, he played flawless golf thereafter. He sank a six foot putt on the fifth for birdie, an eight footer on the par-five seventh, a three footer on the 10th, chipped in for birdie on the 12th and made another three footer on the 14th hole.

“I’m satisfied with my performance and my putting was also good,” Amritinder said.

Meanwhile, Rafiq carded an uneventful bogey-free 69. He had just one birdie, as a result of a two-putt on the par-five 10th hole. Digvijay Singh is a further stroke behind Ganapathy after he carded a one-under, 69 to take his 54-hole total to eight-under-par.

City golfer Sanjeev Mehra continued to lead the amateur category carding a 71 in the penultimate round of the championship.

SCORES: 196_Mukesh Kumar (66, 64, 66); 200_Rafiq Ali (65, 66, 69), Amritinder Singh (67, 65, 68); 201_ Rahul Ganapathy (67, 68, 66); 202_Digvijay Singh (68, 65, 69); 203_ Uttam Singh Mundy (64, 69, 70); 205_ Indrajit Bhalotia (67, 70, 68); 206_Ashok Kumar (67, 70, 69); 207_Shiv Prakash (69, 66, 72), 208_Basad Ali (72, 69, 67), SSP Chowrasia (71, 69, 68), Bhoop Singh (67, 71, 70), Sanjay Kumar (68, 69, 71).

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