Indian Open: Shubhankar sets course record, Chawrasia misses ‘cut’

Shubhankar Sharma leapt 51 places to occupy the second spot behind runaway leader Emiliano Grillo at the halfway stage of the Hero Indian Open on Friday.

At the end of the halfway stage, Shubhankar Sharma trails Emiliano Grillo by four shots.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Stroking his putts with immaculate accuracy, Shubhankar Sharma set a course record of eight-under 64. In the process, the 21-year-old dramatically leapt 51 places to occupy the second spot behind runaway leader Emiliano Grillo at the halfway stage of the $1.75 million Hero Indian Open here on Friday.

Even before Shubhankar teed up, first-round leader Grillo finished his second round with a 68 to aggregate 11-under 133. For the better part of the day, the Argentine led by five strokes, until Shubhankar signed off in style with a birdie to tally 137 and reduced the deficit by one.

READ: Emiliano Grillo equals course record at Hero Indian Open

Shubhankar, who dropped five strokes between the 10th and 18th holes of the course on Thursday, sensationally fired six birdies on the same stretch. Some long birdie-putts – particularly on the par-5 624-yard 18th hole where he daringly attacked the ‘pin’ by choosing to go over the water-hazard with his approach shot – was the hallmark of his
second-nine.

It is also significant to note that in the last 27 holes, Shubhankar shot 13 birdies against a lone bogey.

“If you would have told me yesterday after I was five-over for nine holes, that I would be seven-under, I would have laughed it off. When I fought back yesterday, I knew I am playing well. So didn’t go for anything different,” said a smiling Shubhankar.

Like on Thursday, Shubhankar again birdied the first and fourth holes. His lone blemish came on the seventh but he made up with a birdie on the next. On the back-nine, Shubhankar drove brilliantly off the tee, his iron-play was precise and on the green, he putted better than anyone on this day.

In fact, Shubhankar’s show proved timely as it helped salvage the home pride. Earlier, it became clear that defending champion SSP Chawrasia (74, 77) would not make the ‘cut’, like several other illustrious compatriots, including Jeev Milkha Singh who finished with his worst-ever two-round score of 20-over 164!

With nine players yet to finish their second round, the likely ‘cut’ stands at three-over 147. At present, 67 players including eight Indians, are set to play over the weekend.

The scores:

133 – Emiliano Grillo (Arg) (65, 68); 137 – Shubhankar Sharma (73, 64), 138 – Pablo Larrazabal (Esp) (67, 71), Andrew Johnston (Eng) (72, 66); 139 – Matt Wallace (Eng) (69, 70), Keith Horne (RSA) (66, 73) and Jens Dantrop (Swe) (69, 70).

Other Indians: 140 – Khalin Joshi (72, 68), Jyoti Randhawa ();  144 – Ajeetesh Sandhu (68, 76), 145 – Anirban Lahiri (72, 73), 146 – Kshitij Naveed Kaul (Am) (70, 76), 147 – Karandeep Kochar (75, 72) and Udayan Mane (72, 75).

Prominent Indians missing the projected ‘cut’: 148 – Arjun Atwal (71, 77) and Shiv Kapur (76, 72); 151 – S. S. P. Chawrasia (74, 77), S. Chikkarangappa (), 152 – Ashok Kumar (74, 78), 153 – Gaganjeet Bhullar (76, 77), 154 – Shamim Khan (81, 73), Mukesh Kumar (77, 77), 155 – Rashid Khan (77, 78), 164 – Jeev Milkha Singh (80, 84).