CG Open: Rashid pulls ahead by three shots

The Delhi golfer, fresh from a top-10 in Bengaluru last week, now has a total of 10-under-130 to stake his claim for the title this week

Rashid Khan has won two Asian tour titles in past.   -  Stan Rayan

Two-time Asian Tour winner Rashid Khan’s class act of eight-under-62 in round two of the PGTI’s CG Open helped him pull ahead of the rest by three shots here Thursday.

The Delhi golfer, who produced a sensational run of six straight birdies during his error-free round at the Bombay Presidency Golf Club (BPGC), now has a total of 10-under-130.

Australian Kunal Bhasin, a former CG Open champion and resident of Mumbai, carded a 67 to end the day in tied second at seven-under-133 along with Lucknow’s Sanjeev Kumar (69) at the Rs. 1 crore event.

The cut was declared at three-over-143. Fifty professionals and one amateur made the cut for the money rounds.

Rashid Khan (68-62), lying overnight tied 11th, took a flight to the top of the leaderboard on day two, riding on his good putting form. Khan, a two-time runner-up at the CG Open, set the course on fire with birdies on his first six holes sinking putts from 15 to 25 feet on three occasions.

The 27-year-old Rashid, fresh from a top-10 in Bengaluru last week, picked up two more birdies on the back-nine including one from 25 feet to stake his claim for the title this week.

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Rashid said, “I’ve been striking the ball well but was struggling with my putting till last week in Bengaluru. I tried a few things and managed to fix my putting during the Bengaluru event that also helped me put up some good scores there including a 67.”

Kunal Bhasin (66-67), the 2009 CG Open champion, moved up from overnight tied fourth to tied second as a result of his second round 67 that featured five birdies and two bogeys.

Bhasin, who had withdrawn from last week’s event in Bengaluru due to a back spasm, said, “I’m still a little stiff and restricted in my swing due to the back spasm and that’s the reason I’ve changed my set up and am playing with an open stance. Nonetheless, I’ve not felt this good about my game in a while.”

Sanjeev Kumar, the overnight joint leader, dropped to tied second after a 69.

Gurugram’s Digvijay Singh, the other joint leader from round one, also slipped on day two after he fired a 70. Digvijay shared fourth place with Sri Lankan N Thangaraja (68) and Mysuru’s Yashas Chandra (68) at six-under-134.

Delhi’s Pawan Kumar shot a brilliant 63 to move into tied ninth at four-under-136. Pravin Pathare from Pune returned an equally impressive 64 to close the round in tied 18th at one-under-139.

Gagan Verma, also from Delhi, was the only amateur to make the cut. He totalled two-over-142 at the halfway stage to be tied 32nd.

Mumbai’s Anil Bajrang Mane was the only local golfer to make the cut. He was tied 44th at three-over-143.

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