When it came to ball-striking, S. Chikkarangaapa’s consistency was hard to match. Playing without a driver, he reached all 18 greens in regulation for a bogey-free six-under 66. This brilliant effort on Friday left him enjoying a three-stroke halfway lead at 10-under 134 in the $750,000 DGC Open here.
Surprisingly, this hard-working Bengaluru golfer took 30 putts - three more than what he needed during his first-round 68. It did not hurt him once overnight leader Siddikur Rahman followed his first-round 65 with a 73 and slipped to 6-under 138.
Rashid Khan and Om Prakash Chouhan were part of a five-man pack in the second spot at 137.
The ‘cut’ came at two-over 146 and left 76 players, including 24 Indians, for the weekend action.
Starting the day in the joint-fifth spot, Chikkarangappa rode on the confidence of being a top-10 finisher in last week’s International Series in Thailand, after sharing the third-round lead with Siddikur following the third round.
Four birdies on the first six holes showed Chikkarangappa in good form. After 10 successive pars, he signed off with two successive birdies.
The daylong cloud-cover also helped the golfers as the greens remained soft and held on. “If the greens get firmer and if it’s sunny then it plays a lot more difficult. So I would say, luck was on my side with the weather,” said the leader who confessed “not being a really big fan” of the Delhi Golf Club course.
Rashid could have held on to sole second spot had he not bogeyed the final hole for a 70. His putter proved cold as he found pars on the first seven holes. Three birdies over the next six holes, on either side of the turn, brightened his prospects. But two bogeys and a birdie on the last four holes slowed him down.
Compared to Thursday, Rashid’s driving distance and greens-in-regulation percentage improved but his putts - 32 as compared to his first-round 25 - prevented his card from looking better than Om Prakash Chouhan’s bogey-free 68.
The scores (Indians unless stated):
Second round: 134 - S. Chikkarangappa (68, 66); 137 - Rashid Khan (67, 70), Sadom Kaewkanjana (Tha) (70, 67), Nitihorn Thippong (Tha) (67, 70), Om Prakash Chouhan (69, 68), Matt Killen (Eng) (68, 69); 138 - Poom Saksansin (Tha) (72, 66), Siddikur Rahman (Ban) (65, 73), Justin Quiban (67, 71) and Chonlatit Chuenboonngam (Tha) 71, 67).
Other Indians who made the ‘cut’: 140 - Karandeep Kochhar (71, 69); 142 - Shamim Khan (72, 70). S. S. P. Chowrasia (72, 70); Jyoti Randhawa (73, 69); Karan Pratap Singh (75, 69) Sachin Baisoya (71, 72); 144 - Shiv Kapur (75, 69); Yashas Chandra (72, 72); 145 - Veer Ahlawat (70, 75); Ranjit Singh (70, 75), Yuvraj Singh (A) (69, 76); Angad Cheema (72, 73), Gagandeep Bhullar (74, 71), Honey Baisoya (71, 74), Kapil Kumar (73, 52); 146 - Abhijit Chadha (71, 75), Aryan Roopa Anand (71, 75), Manav Jaini (74, 72), Akshay Sharma (72, 74), Shaurya Bhattacharya (A) (71, 75) and Harshjeet Singh Sethie (74, 72).
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