Indian Open: Pilkadaris takes lead over Chowrasia, Elvira

A four-time runners-up, Chawrasia was a picture of consistency as he blasted as many as six birdies against a lone bogey to total 10-under 134, just three strokes away from the leader Terry Pilkadaris of Australia, who set the course ablaze with a eight-under 64.

S.S.P Chawrasia reacts to a putt during the second round.   -  Getty Images

After Daniel Im on the opening day, it was the turn of his room-mate Terry Pilkadaris to take the clubhouse lead with a stupendous eight-under 64 for a three-stroke cushion at the halfway stage of the $1.66 Hero Indian Open here on Friday.

The Australian, who bogeyed the last hole and still managed the best card of the day, now has an aggregate of 131. He is followed by Spain’s Nacho Elvira and crowd favourite S. S. P. Chawrasia, who shot 66 and 67, respectively.

A further three-stroke behind was Rashid Khan, tied at the sixth place with two others.

On a day when the ‘cut’ came at 144 and left 73 professionals and the lone Indian amateur Arjun Prasad in the fray over the weekend, three-time Major winner Padraig Harrington (71, 74) and former champion Thaworn Wiratchant (72, 74) were among those who missed the bus.

Defending champion Anirban Lahiri shot an 71 to share the 14th spot at 139, same as Daniel Im, Sanjay Kumar and Shiv Kapur.

Interestingly, the three leading players in the fray have all struggled to make weekend action with varying degrees of difficulty. Pilkadaris has made only his second cut in seven appearances, Elvira second in eight outings and Chawrasia first in the last four.

Pilkadaris, nursing a trapped intercostal nerve in the back since Christmas last year, is looking to add to his three Asian Tour titles since 2005. On this day, he fired nine birdies and maintained that he kept things simple.

“I felt really good out there and I kept going at flags. I kept giving myself chances and it was nice to take advantage of them. I’ve played about 40 rounds at least here and you got to keep it straight and on the fairway,” he said.

Chawrasia fired six birdies and saved a few pars for a second successive 67. He hit the bushes on the 11th and 14th holes but responded to the challenge by finding birdies from 15 feet and 14 feet, respectively.

“My putting saved me, no doubt. Hitting was also not bad, but whenever I got into a sticky situation, my putting saw me through,” said the four-time runner-up.

The scores:

Terry Pilkadaris (Aus) (67, 64) 131; Nacho Elvira (Esp) (66, 68), S.S. P. Chowrasia (67, 67) 134; Ben Evans (Eng) (70, 66), David Lipsky (US) (69, 67) 136; Jorge Campillo (Esp) (66, 71), Rashid Khan (69, 68) and Alejandro Canizares (Esp) (68, 69) 137.

Other Indians who made the ‘cut’: Shiv Kapur (72, 67), Sanjay Kumar (67, 72), Anirban Lahiri (68, 71) 139; Honey Baisoya (68, 72) 140; Arjun Prasad (A) (71, 70), Mukesh Kumar (73, 68), Arjun Atwal (70, 71), Shamim Khan (71, 70), Rahil Gangjee (69 72) 141; Vikrant Chopra (69, 73), Ajeetesh Sandhu (76, 66), Udayan Mane (72, 70), Shankar Das (70, 72) 142; Jeev Milkha Singh (72, 71), Amardip Malik (73, 70), Shubhankar Sharma (73, 70), Chiragh Kumar (73, 70), M. Dharma (70, 74) and Om Prakash Chouhan (71, 73) 144.