News All Articles
Nakajima takes command at Hero Indian Open

Nakajima takes command at Hero Indian Open

Keita Nakajima will take a four-shot lead into the final round of the Hero Indian Open as he goes in search of a maiden DP World Tour title in New Delhi.

The Japanese has been on top of the leadeboard since day one at DLF Golf & Country Club and followed up back-to-back 65s with a 68 to get to 18 under and match the biggest 54-hole lead of the season so far.

Malaysia's Gavin Green carded a brilliant, bogey-free 64 to sit at 14 under alongside Frenchman Romain Langasque, who signed for a 70.

Italian Matteo Manassero and France's Jeong weon Ko were then five back but all eyes will be on Nakajima as he looks to claim the second wire-to-wire win of the 2024 campaign.

Nakajima may be seeking a first DP World Tour win in just his 11th start but he knows how to get over a line, having claimed four victories on the Japan Golf Tour.

The first of those came as an amateur in 2021 and he spent a record 87 weeks at the top of the World Amateur Golf Ranking before joining the paid ranks.

Three victories in five months last year helped him top the Order of Merit on the Japan Golf Tour and earn his card on the DP World Tour, with his best result so far fourth at the Ras Al Khaimah Championship.

A win would make him the fifth Japanese winner in DP World Tour history and the third in just over six months, after Ryo Hisatsune won last season's Open de France and Rikuya Hoshinso - currently second on the DP World Tour Rankings in Partnership with Rolex - triumphed at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters last month.

"One more day," he said. "I will try my best. Keep the same tempo, all the same, just keep going.

"I feel very confident in my game. My ball-striking and swing has been pretty good this week.

"I had great experiences in my amateur career, but I’m a professional now. I played the Japan Tour last year and a few other events where I played well, great experience. I’ll just keep going."

Starting two shots behind the leader, Langasque birdied the first from ten feet and that set up a fantastic nip-and-tuck battle between him and Nakajima over the front nine.

Nakajima hit back from six feet after a beautiful tee-shot on the par-three third and the leading duo then both made the most of the par-five next - Langasque getting up and down from the rough and Nakajima leaving himself 12 feet after laying up.

Nakajima holed a 30-foot right-to-lefter down the slope on the sixth but Langasque followed him in from around half that distance, sending his putt through two cuts of fringe.

There was then a two-shot swing on the par-five eighth as Nakajima found water off the tee and Langasque made a two-putt birdie and the two were tied at 16 under as they made the turn - three ahead of the nearest challengers.

Nakajima put an approach to ten feet at the 11th and then a tee-shot to five feet at the par-three next and when Langasque went over the back of the 13th and failed to get up and down, the lead was three.

The leader found a nasty lie off the tee at the 14th to drop a shot but a missed green and a poor chip from Langasque at the 16th had the advantage back to three, with clubhouse leader Green now the nearest challenger.

Green birdied the fifth and sixth and then chipped in for eagle at the eighth and made another birdie at the ninth to pick up five shots in as many holes and turn in 31.

He then sandwiched a birdie on the 17th with gains on the par-five 15th and last to leap into contention.

He found himself four back, however, as Nakajima made a brilliant up-and-down on the last for a birdie, with Langasque also making a gain after missing a seven-footer for eagle.

Ko carded a 69, one shot fewer than Manassero, to sit one ahead of local favourite Veer Ahlawat and two clear of England's Sam Bairstow.

Read next