Abu Dhabi: India’s Shiv Shankar Prasad Chowrasia and the newly-married Australian Andrew Dodt registered the best round of the week at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship on Saturday, a seven-under-par 65.
While it was a flawless round for Chowrasia, Dodt, who at one stage in the morning shared the clubhouse lead, bogeyed the 475-yard 16th hole.
However, the Australian, like Chowrasia, finished off with a birdie on the 18th and the two made huge progress up the leaderboard in the morning session.
“I got married two weeks ago, I don’t know if that’s [my good display] got something to do with it, but I’m sure it has,” said Dodt, who started the day tied for 36th, eight shots behind the leader, Justin Rose.
Dodt, who will celebrate his 27th birthday next week, got off to a great start with three successive birdies. “I played very well, getting straight out of the blocks. I was three-under through three; four-under through nine, and then yeah, I just rolled a few putts in on the back nine and it all clicked,” he said after missing out on an even better round of eight-under-par 64 after the bogey on the 16th.
“I feel last year was like a second chance, this year I just managed to get my card and this year I feel that I can come out of the blocks running and play well early on, and I managed to do that today,” added Dodt.
Chowrasia, the caddie-turned-professional from the East Indian city of Calcutta, moved up from the cut-line into the upper reaches of the leaderboard with a superb seven-under-par 65. Four consecutive birdies from the second to the fifth holes, two more on the trot when he started his back nine and then a brilliant birdie on the final hole resulted in his 65-shot round. On the first two days, he finished with two one-over-par 73s.
“I’ve played this course many times now and every time I play a bit better,” said Chowrasia, the winner of two Tour titles. “It’s a very long course, so I’ve tried to increase my distance a little bit. The main things I needed to improve were chipping and putting, so I’ve worked hard on my short game,” said the Indian ace, who played with the help of painkillers.
“I’ve changed my swing a little and there is some pain in my wrists. I am taking painkillers and using help of the physio,” he said.
Chowrasia will start the final day on five-under-par 211 and, commenting on his chances of success, he said: “Maybe I’ll be top ten,” he said.
“It will be a nice challenge tomorrow. The field is very good. So let’s see.”