Here’s what Germans Yannik Paul, and Marcel Siem, Joost Luiten of the Netherlands, Dane Thorbjorn Olesen and India’s Veer Ahlawat, the top five contenders at the Hero Indian Open 2023 had to say after Moving Day, Saturday, at the DLF Golf and Country Club.
Yannik Paul (GER): 65-69-71 (-11)
“With a five-shot lead, I knew there were still 36 holes to go. I obviously didn’t get off to the best start (on Saturday) but I just tried to focus on myself. There’s so much golf yet. I just tried to stay patient.
“I know on this course you’re going to get some bad breaks here and there. Six, seven, eight I had a couple of nice birdies and then played pretty solid on the back nine. Hit a couple of great putts but they just seemed to slip by. Had some lip-outs from around eight feet, sometimes they go in, sometimes they don’t, it’s not in my control.
“Short game is my strength, I would say. I gave myself a lot of chances and sometimes they go in, sometimes they don’t. I just tried to stay positive. I’m in a great position and I’m looking forward to playing with Marcel tomorrow.
“Getting the win would be amazing. Such an iconic event here but I think that’s the hard part. You don’t want to think ahead, you want to stay in the present because 18 holes is a lot of golf left. I’ll just try to get some rest tonight and look forward to tomorrow.”
Marcel Siem (GER): 69-70-67 (-10)
“It was a nice start. It’s not easy to hole putts, so getting a nice one straight away helps, it takes the pressure off a bit. I slept super bad last night, had all sorts of thoughts going through my head but it was good.
“I was aiming four yards right of the flag and it started on the flag. I was below the ball, luckily I’m a cutty player, but I thought that thing was going left and missing the green. It was holding on and then kicked right, so a bit of luck, nice putt, happy days.
“I get the shivers already, just thinking about [winning]. Yannik is a very good player, very steady, he’s a tough guy to beat. I’m not thinking about it. Last three holes down the stretch, that’s where it matters. I’m just trying to do what I do, but it would mean a lot to me, trust me. It would be a life-changer, but let’s talk about that tomorrow.”
Joost Luiten (NED): 70-70-68 (-8)
“I played well. Four under is a good score but I definitely made a couple of mistakes which I thought were unnecessary but that’s this golf course, I get. I’m in the right position, a nice position, for tomorrow.
“You always look at the leaderboard a little bit, it’s tough to not look at it, especially when you’re playing well. I’m in the right position, where I want to be, so hopefully we can put some pressure on him tomorrow and chase him a little bit.
“It’s been a tough time for me so to win tomorrow would be special. It’s always special to win, but I’m not thinking about that today. I need to play a lot of golf tomorrow, I need to play good golf, then we’ll see. But winning on this Tour is always special.
“A win is a win. It’s always tough winning out here. I’m not thinking about that yet, I just want to play some golf tomorrow. Winning is always special, who knows how it feels, we’ll see tomorrow.”
Thorbjørn Olesen (DEN): 73-72-66 (-5)
“No bogeys is really nice around here. I felt like I played pretty nicely the first two days. Could have silly mistakes but I didn’t make any mistakes today, which was really nice to see.
“This is a very demanding golf course from the tee and also some big greens with big slopes. You’ve got to be on your game but I felt like I had some confidence coming into this week. I feel like I’ve not really done anything wrong over the first three days, been good off the tee and given myself a lot of chances, which is really nice around this place.
“A few tee boxes were moved back today and it played pretty long. Luckily the weather is nice and there was basically no wind today, which helps. It’s gettable. If you hit good tee shots, you can definitely score but this course can bite you pretty quickly. You just need to concentrate the whole way round.
“Anything can happen on this course. I played with Yannik the first two days and he was playing really, really well so he’ll definitely be a tough man to beat. You never know on this golf course, you can get on a run but you can also go the other way.”
Veer Ahlawat (IND): 73-70-68 (-5)
“I had a really solid start, I was four under after eight holes. I got to five under but then I dropped a shot on hole 14 but overall it was a good, solid striking performance.
“I just feel I’m more mature now. I’ve played this course a lot more and I’m striking the ball better than last time.
“I’m just going to try and take it shot by shot and try not to worry what the outcome is going to be.”
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