China Open: Khalin Joshi best Indian at 23rd; SSP makes cut; Jeev misses out

Apart from Khalin Joshi, only two other Indians - Ajeetesh Sandhu and SSP Chawrasia - in T-55th made the cut.

Khalin Joshi birdied the 10th, 13th and 14th holes holes both days and finished with 70. [File photo]   -  Sudhakara Jain

Indian golfer Khalin Joshi, who was unable to find his rhythm this year on the Asian Tour, carded a two-under 70 at the Volvo China Open on Friday to ensure that he will feature in the weekend rounds.

He had missed cut in five Asian Tour events and withdrawn from one, while he did make the cut at Kenya Open on European Tour.

On Friday, he signed for 70 and held a share of 23rd place, but he was eight shots back of Wu Ashun, who delighted the home fans with a seven-under 65 and took a two-shot lead into the weekend. Wu Ashun has a two-day total of 13-under-par 131.

Only two other Indians, Ajeetesh Sandhu (74-67) in T-43rd and SSP Chawrasia (71-71) in T-55th made the cut.

Viraj Madappa, whose five-under 67 could not make up for the first round 76, missed the cut by one shot. Shiv Kapur (70-73) made a late bogey and missed the cut by one, while Jeev Milkha Singh (71-73) and Gaganjeet Bhullar (71-74) also missed the cut.

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Joshi played nine straight pars on the front nine and then had three birdies on 10th, 13th and 14th. He birdied those three holes both days. He dropped a shot late on 18th and finished with 70.

“I did not putt as well as I wanted to but overall I feel pretty good as I am in a good position. I hit the ball well and I played smart golf. This golf course can be very intimidating as it has it has challenges and it is fairly long for me. But I am just excited about the weekend and hopefully I can put up a good result,” said Joshi.

“Jeev is an inspiration for all Indian golfer and knowing that he has won the Volvo China Open before just gives us the belief that we can do it too. I have been having a rough start so it’s nice I’m going to play this weekend. I’m excited.”

Behind leader Wu Ashun, who won the Volvo China Open in 2015, were Finland’s Tapio Pulkkanen and Spain’s Jorge Campillo, who both started the day tied for the lead, slipped to second and third place respectively after they returned with a 68 and 69 at the Genzon Golf Club.

Chinese amateur Kuang Yang endeared himself to the galleries when at 14 years and 170 days became the second youngest player on the Asian Tour to make the halfway cut which was set at two-under-par.