Bengaluru, Oct 29 (IANS) Young Indian golfer Shubhankar Sharma shot eight-under 64 to pull two shots clear from title holder S. Chikka and compatriot Himmat Rai after the second round of the India Masters at the Eagleton-The Golf Village here on Thursday.

The 19-year-old Shubhankar, who opened with a 67 on Wednesday, fired nine birdies against a lone bogey to lead on 15-under 129 at the $120,000 event, which is the 24th leg of the Asian Development Tour (ADT).

Defending champion Chikka signed for a 66 to share the second place with one-time winner on the Asian Tour Rai, who carded a 67, while overnight leader Greg Moss of the United States slipped to fourth on 132 following a 70.

American Casey O’Toole, who leads the current ADT Order of Merit, registered a 69 to stay eight shots off the pace in tied 14th position. Shubhankar, who turned professional in 2013, took advantage of the easy scoring conditions at the Eagleton course to cap his best round ever on the region’s burgeoning Tour.

“I have been hitting the ball well. I played good both yesterday and today and I putted great. The course is in a good condition. It’s a relatively easy course. If you can putt well, your score can easily go low. The only challenging part is the greens this week because it’s quite soft due to the rain these two days,” he said in a release.

“I just want to play my best for the next rounds and try to stay in the game. It’s a good position to be in right now, but there are still a lot more to do,” added Shubhankar. Chikka, who opened his campaign with a 65, returned with a bogey-free round highlighted by six birdies to reignite his title defence. A total of 51 players, including 22 Indians, made the halfway cut which was set at four-under 140.

    The IANS was founded by Indian American publisher Gopal Raju as the India Abroad News Service. It was later renamed the Indo-Asian News Service.

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