Bangladesh's Badal Hossain returned  7-under 65, the day's best joint score and with an overall total of 16-under 200  emerged sole leader at the end of the third and penultimate round of the  TATA Steel PGTI Players Championship here Thursday.

 A stroke  separates   Yuvraj Sandhu  and the leader as the Chandigarh golfer who  also carded  7 under 65  and with  an overall score of 15-under 201 is in the second place 

First, two rounds leader Jamal Hossain slipped to be tied at third place with Sri Lanka’s N Thangaraja with identical overall scores of 12-under 204 trailing the leader by four strokes. Tied at fifth place with an overall score of 11-under 205 after 54 holes are the Chandigarh duo of Abhijit Singh Chadha and PGTI Order Of Merit leader Ajeetesh Sandhu, Bengaluru’s Khalin Joshi and Gurugram’s Manu Gandas.

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Badal Hossain’s round of 7-under 65, the day’s joint best score, consisted of eight birdies and a solitary bogey. After starting on a shaky note with a bogey on the first hole, Badal who played alongside Sri Lanka’s N Thangaraja and fellow countryman and roommate Jamal Hossain, began to find his touch with his ball-striking from the sixth hole onwards. As a result, the 31-year-old from Savar Golf Club picked up back-to-back birdies on the sixth and seventh after which he didn’t look back. Badal, yet to win his first title on the PGTI, hit a purple patch after the turn making six consecutive birdies from the 10th to the 15th.

Speaking about his third-round performance  Badal said, “It was a great day today, especially with my putter, as I sank three 10–15-footer birdie putts. I started with a bogey but I felt good about my hitting from the sixth hole onwards, that’s the reason I sank a number of birdies from there on. Playing alongside my friends Thangaraja and Jamal, who is also my roommate, I felt a lot more relaxed out there on the course. It’s a new day tomorrow and all I plan is to stick to my game and maintain my rhythm.”

Sandhu carded a bogey free round of , to match the day’s lowest score also shot by Badal.  His round consisted of three long conversions, three quality up and downs from the bunker and two brilliant par-saves on the 17th and 18th.

Jamal’s 71 featured five birdies and four bogeys while Thangaraja’s round of 70 included four birdies and two bogeys. Three-time PGTI Order of Merit winner Rashid Khan is tied 21st at 5-under 211, defending champion Chikkarangappa S is tied 34th at 3-under 213 and Olympian Udayan Mane is tied 46th at even-par 216.

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