(Macao, Oct. 15, 2016) – Close friends India’s Anirban Lahiri and Chikkarangappa S. set up a mouth-watering final day shootout after edging one shot ahead of the chasing pack at The Venetian Macao Open on Saturday.
Lahiri, the reigning Asian Tour number one, and Chikkarangappa carded matching two under par 69s in the third round at the Macau Golf and Country Club to jointly lead the US$1.1 million Asian Tour tournament on 10 under par 203.
Thai trio Rattanon Wannasrichan (65), Pavit Tangkamolprasert (68), Sutijet Kooratanapisan (70), Spaniard Carlos Pigem (69) and India’s Rashid Khan (66) are only a stroke back, while another Thai, Chapchai Nirat, battled to a 69 to lie two off the pace.
England’s Ian Poulter fought to a level par 71, leaving himself five shots back and with an outside chance for a win in his first tournament in four months following a foot injury.
All eyes, however, will be on Lahiri and Chikkarangappa, who grew up together in Bangalore. Six years older, Lahiri, 29, has already achieved immense success with seven Asian Tour wins, and now plies his trade mainly in the United States, while Chikkarangappa is still bidding for a maiden Asian Tour title.
“It’ll be tough. Chikka is a fierce competitor, I know it. It’ll be good to battle it out with him. But it’s not just me and him as there are so many guys in it. Anybody who shoots 63 or 64 has a chance to win. You can’t rule anyone out,” said Lahiri, winner of Tthe Venetian Macao Open in 2014 and runner-up in 2013 and last year.
“It’ll be serious business [(with Chikkarangappa Chikka) ] but we care very deeply for each other. There’s no doubt neither of us would like the other person to win unless the person himself doesn’t win. If it’s not me, I would like for him to win but I definitely like to win myself more than him and that’s the same for him.”
In-form Chikkarangappa, who has enjoyed two top-10s in as many weeks, overcame a double bogey on 11 with three birdies to keep himself in the title hunt against his mentor.
“We’re brothers,” said the 23-year-old Chikka, whose best finish on the Asian Tour to date was tied fourth in Bangladesh earlier this year. “Anirban moved from Hyderabad to Bangalore and I’m the village boy and he didn’t know the local language. and we became friends. I would help him to buy groceries and we would practice together and kept motivating each other.
“He inspires me … makes me to try and follow in his footsteps. He always challenges me to do better than him. It’ll be a dream to play with Anirban. It’s been a long time since we last played competitive golf together. We’ll have a blast.”
Meanwhile Rattanon, 21, produced the day’s best of 65 with one eagle and six birdies. Like Chikkarangappa, he is also chasing a first win on the Asian Tour and was inspired when his regular Tour roommate Poom Saksansin broke through in Indonesia last weekend.
“I will try to win like him (Poom). He is encouraging me and says that I can win too,” said Rattanon, who is also baby-faced, like Poom. “I hit my driver good today and it helped. I wasn’t putting well before but now it’s okay. I just keep telling myself in my mind that I can hole the putts.”
Big-hitting Pavit, the 2014 Asian Development Tour number one, is also eager to break through, while also honouring the late king of Thailand, King Bhumibol, who died on Thursday night.
“I won’t think of winning much. When I won on the Asian Development Tour [(five times), ], I never thought about winning. I think the experience helps a bit. I think the king is helping us. It’ll be good for the Thai players to win for him. It’ll be an honour,” said the 27-year-old.
After a triple bogey on 10, former Ryder Cup star Poulter gallantly fought back with three birdies but was kicking himself for missing a closing birdie on the last hole, a par five. He is not counting himself out of the title race, especially after an opening 64 on Thursday.
“A bit of frustration, more than anything else. The dream start on Thursday didn’t feel great yesterday and I didn’t get off to the best of starts today. A poor tee short on 10 was very costly. Looking at the leaderboard now, it’s really annoying,” he said.
“I’ll sleep on it, probably have a chat with myself in my room and obviously see if I can reset and come out and play some of the golf that I did on Thursday and hole some putts.”
For more details on the Venetian Macao Open, please visit: www.thevenetianmacaoopen.com.
Scores after round 3 of the Venetian Macau Open 2016 being played at the par 71, 6,606 Yards Macau GCC course (am - denotes amateur):
203 - Anirban LAHIRI (IND) 66-68-69, Chikkarangappa S. (IND) 69-65-69.
204 - Rattanon WANNASRICHAN (THA) 68-71-65, Rashid KHAN (IND) 69-69-66, Pavit TANGKAMOLPRASERT (THA) 69-67-68, Carlos PIGEM (ESP) 64-71-69, Sutijet KOORATANAPISAN (THA) 68-66-70.
205 - Chapchai NIRAT (THA) 65-71-69.
206 - CHAN Shih-chang (TPE) 71-69-66, Miguel TABUENA (PHI) 67-69-70, Kalem RICHARDSON (AUS) 67-67-72.
207 - Antonio LASCUNA (PHI) 71-67-69, Rahil GANGJEE (IND) 68-69-70.
208 - Pariya JUNHASAVASDIKUL (THA) 71-70-67, Alex CEJKA (GER) 68-73-67, Javi COLOMO (ESP) 70-68-70, Ian POULTER (ENG) 64-73-71.
209 - Rory HIE (INA) 77-65-67, LIEN Lu-sen (TPE) 73-69-67, Jeunghun WANG (KOR) 74-67-68, LIANG Wen-chong (CHN) 71-70-68, Johannes VEERMAN (USA) 70-71-68, Jyoti RANDHAWA (IND) 69-71-69, DOU Ze-cheng (CHN) 71-68-70, Seukhyun BAEK (KOR) 70-69-70, Minkyu HAN (KOR) 69-69-71, CAO Yi (CHN) 69-69-71, Scott HEND (AUS) 71-67-71, Shankar DAS (IND) 70-67-72.
About Sports Bureau of Macao SAR Government (MSB)
Sports Bureau of Macao SAR Government, under the capacity of the Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture of the Macao SAR Government, is a public organization of administration autonomy. The organization is responsible for the implementation of sport strategy and policy formulated by the Macao SAR Government. Its objective is to stimulate, encourage, and promote all kind of sports in Macao, also to create an essential condition for sport development.
For the development of competitive sports and ‘Sport for all’, Sports Bureau of Macao SAR Government organizes various high level international sport competitions as well as recreational classes and thematic ‘Sport for all’ activities each year, in an endeavor to promote the international status of Macao, reinforce communication and co-operation with other countries and cites, enhance citizens’ quality of life and arouse their interest in sport, so as to accelerate and facilitate the enhancement of the level of sport in Macao.
For more information, please visit www.sport.gov.mo
About Golf Association of Macau
Founded in 2000, the Golf Association of Macau is a non-profit organization, with the mission to promote, support and ensure the quality, traditions and development of the game of golf in Macao.
With the mission to encourage and promote golf in Macao, it provides coaching, training and selection of the Macao teams for participation in international events at all levels, and promotes and runs appropriate international and domestic golfing events in Macao, which helps to represent Macao in the golfing world and be a member of appropriate regional and world governing bodies.
About The Venetian® Macao
Opened in 2007, The Venetian® Macao is Macao's first integrated resort featuring stunning replicas of the famous canals and architectural icons of Venice, Italy. The Venetian Macao features 3,000 suites, 1.2 million square feet (111,000 square metres) of convention and meeting facilities as well as a 15,000-seat Cotai Arena designed for world-class sports events and electrifying entertainment. The Venetian Macao is also home to the unique, 1,800-seat luxury Venetian Theatre, hosting the best in international and Chinese entertainment; more than 30 renowned restaurants; TAIVEXMALO Day Hospital; the incredibly fun QUBE indoor playground and more than 350 retailers at Shoppes at Venetian. Outdoor recreation areas include swimming pools and cabanas and a mini-golf course.
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Sands China Ltd. is the leading developer, owner and operator of integrated resorts in Macao. The befittingly named Sands Resorts Cotai Strip Macao, situated on reclaimed land between the islands of Coloane and Taipa, is the one destination that provides a stunning array of experiences at the heart of Cotai. Sands Resorts Cotai Strip Macao has transformed a day-trip market into an integrated resort city and international hub for business and leisure travellers.
Pulsating with life, both night and day, Sands Resorts Cotai Strip Macao features an expansive offering of affordable luxury available nowhere else in Macao. . With the opening of The Parisian Macao, it will have nearly 13,000hotel rooms and suites, international superstar live entertainment, duty-free shopping with more than 850 retailers offering an unparalleled array of name brands, meeting and exhibition space for Asia’s leading conferences and exhibitions, transportation offerings and well over 150 dining options, including Michelin-starred restaurants, bars and lounges. Sands Resorts Cotai Strip Macao is a must-go destination providing every guest with an unforgettable experience and unparalleled excitement.
Comprised of The Venetian® Macao; The Plaza™ Macao, featuring the Four Seasons Hotel Macao; and Sands® Cotai Central, featuring the world’s largest Conrad, Sheraton, and St. Regis hotels as well as the Holiday Inn. Sands Resorts Cotai Strip Macao is where Asia’s ultimate destination is all within reach. And coming in 2016, the crowning achievement of Sheldon G. Adelson’s vision of the Cotai Strip - The Parisian Macao. For more information, please visit ParisianMacao.com.
For more information about Sands Resorts Cotai Strip Macao, please visit http://en.sandsresortsmacao.com.
About the Asian Tour
As the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia, the Asian Tour leads the development of golf across the region, enhancing the careers of its members while maintaining a commitment to the integrity of the game. The Asian Tour, through its membership of the International Federation of PGA Tours, is the only recognised pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia. This unique feature positions the Asian Tour at the pinnacle of professional golf in Asia; providing its events with Official World Ranking status. Tour Partners include ECCO (Official Footwear Sponsor), FENIX XCell (Official Apparel Supplier), Hilton Worldwide (Official Hotel Partner), Titleist (Official Web Partner), Bloomberg TV (Official International Media Sponsor), Bloomberg Businessweek Chinese (Official Business Publication Sponsor) and Rolex (Official Timekeeper). Sentosa, Singapore is the Home of the Asian Tour which also has an office in Kuala Lumpur.
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