Sri Lankan Anura Rohana followed up his stunning second-round 10-under 61 with a top-class five-under-66 in round three of the 16th TATA Open 2017 to storm into a three-shot lead on an extremely windy day at the Golmuri Golf Course here on Saturday.
Kolkata's Raju Ali Mollah was on track to revive his 2017 season as his three-under 68 took him to second place at 14-under-199 -- three strokes behind Rohana at the Rs. 1 crore event.
Rohana's (69-61-66), occupying tied second and one off the lead at the start of the day, scored early birdies on the second and fourth to contend for the lead. But a couple of missed opportunities from close range cost him bogeys on the fifth and sixth.
The 44-year-old Anura, a four-time winner on the PGTI, then began his recovery with a birdie on the ninth. He followed that up with four more on the back-nine to achieve his target for the day, a five-under.
Rohana, who won on the PGTI earlier this year, said, "I came back well after the two bogeys on the front-nine to end the day at 17-under which was my goal at the start of the round. I'm happy that I have a three-shot cushion going into the final round considering that today was a tough day for scoring due to the wind.
"The birdie on the 17th was my best today. The 20-feet conversion on the 17th gave me a lot of confidence and will help me begin the last round in a positive frame of mind.
"The plan for round four is that I'll look for a score of four to five under to set up a good chance of winning. However, I'll try to play steady on the front-nine and then assess the situation at the turn," added Anura, who is currently in 12th place on the PGTI Order of Merit.
Kolkata's Raju Ali Mollah (66-65-68) made a move from overnight fourth to second place as a result of his solid 68. Raju's brilliant third round saw him make a tap-in for eagle on the second followed by three birdies and two bogeys.
The 40-year-old Raju, a former winner on the PGTI, has had a quiet season with just one top-10 out of 14 starts to be placed 67th on the Order of Merit. Mollah's performance at Jamshedpur has somewhat rescued his season as he is now likely to retain his tour card by finishing inside the top-60.
Noida golfer Vikrant Chopra's bogey-free 64, the best score of the day, helped him close the penultimate round in tied third place at 13-under 200 total along with Om Prakash Chouhan (65) of Mhow and Delhi's Shamim Khan (67).
Chandigarh's Abhijit Singh Chadha, the second round leader, dropped to tied 10th place at 10-under-203 after a round of 74 on Saturday.