New Delhi, Nov 6 (IANS) India’s Chiragh Kumar recovered from a bad start to fire a brilliant six-under 66 and race into a three-shot lead over Mithun Perera of Sri Lanka after the second round of the $400,000 Panasonic Open India at the Delhi Golf Club (DGC) here on Friday.
Chiragh, a five-time winner on the Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) and overnight joint second player, had a forgettable start to the day after a couple of erratic shots resulted in bogeys on the 11th and 13th holes.
The 31-year-old also missed a short birdie putt on the 14th. The world No.578 then had a hot streak of six straight birdies from the 15th to the second to stage a grand comeback. Chiragh went on to add three more birdies on the fifth, sixth, seventh to make his way to the top of the leaderboard. He converted seven birdie putts from a range of 10 to 15 feet in round two.
The Delhi-based golfer however couldn’t manage to close the round with a flourish as he missed two four-footers on the eighth and ninth, one for birdie and the other for par. In total, he shot nine birdies for a 66 that gave him the total of 11-under-par 133. “I told myself not to let the poor start get to me. I missed a short birdie putt on the 14th hole and I kept telling myself to move on. Everything fell into place after that so I’m glad I missed that putt!,” Chiragh said.
“I wish I holed a few more birdie putts and finish higher than I did. Being patient is something that comes with age, maturity and some experience. You keep grinding it out until the round is over,” Chiragh, who recently finished a creditable tied second at the Asian Tour’s Venetian Macau Open, added. “I’m playing good and the chances keep coming. If I keep doing what I’ve been doing then I’ll have a lot more opportunities to contend for titles.”
Overnight leader Perera, searching for a first Asian Tour win, slipped to second place following a 70 which included a double bogey on the 13th hole. Siddikur Rahman of Bangladesh, a two-time Asian Tour winner, battled to a 70 to stay in contention as he shared third place alongside Thailand’s Pawin Ingkhapradid (68) and Zamal Hossain (67) on a 138 total.
Besides Chiragh, the three other Indians in the top-10 were Noida’s Vikrant Chopra (68) in tied sixth at five-under 139 and Kolkata’s Shankar Das (71) as well as Bengaluru’s S. Chikkarangappa (71), both placed tied eighth at four-under 140. Sanjay Kumar, Sujjan Singh, Amardip Sinh Malik, Jyoti Randhawa and Mukesh Kumar occupied tied 12th place at three-under 141.
Rashid Khan and Khalin Joshi were a further shot back in tied 18th to make it 11 Indians in the top-20. The halfway cut was declared at three-over 147. A total of 71 players made the cut which included 30 Indians. Among the big names who missed the cut were Himmat Rai of India and two-time Indian Open winner Marcus Both of Australia.