McLeod Russel Golf: Rashid Khan jumps to joint lead

The 25-year-old Delhi lad had a fantastic turnaround after his below-par showing on the first day. He produced six birdies and an eagle to be tied on 134 with Thailand's Pariya Junhasavasdikul.

A determined Rashid Khan began with a birdie on the first hole before earning the eagle with a 20-foot putt on the par-five fourth.

Rashid Khan's error-free eight-under 64, which was the best card of the day, helped the Indian jump six places and join overnight leader Pariya Junhasavasdikul at the top after the second round of the McLeod Russel Tour Championship at the Royal Calcutta Golf Club here on Friday.

The 25-year-old Delhi lad had a fantastic turnaround after his below-par showing on the first day. He produced six birdies and an eagle to be tied on 134 with Junhasavasdikul. The Thai scored a four-under 68 to maintain his position at the summit.

A determined Rashid began with a birdie on the first hole before earning the eagle with a 20-foot putt on the par-five fourth. An eight-foot birdie putt on fifth enabled him to give a good chase to Junhasavasdikul.

Rashid, who finished second at the Tata Open last week, maintained his focus to gain four more shots on the back nine. He brilliantly holed from more than 30 feet out to join Junhasavasdikul before getting another birdie on the 15th to leapfrog the Thai.

Rashid, however, misread the green and missed a narrow five-footer on 18th to settle one shot adrift his best round at the course achieved two years ago.

“I have given myself a target. Let’s see whether I can achieve that,” said Rashid, who had a string of good performances this year despite missing a few weeks of action due to a road accident in June.

The Thai, who had a steady round except a bogey on third, overcame the disappointment of missing a birdie on the 15th to pick up a stroke each on 16th and 18th. On the final hole, he putted from 25 feet to regain his position.

Admiring Rashid’s game, Junhasavasdikul said he is looking forward to play alongside him on Saturday. “Rashid is a shot maker. I learn a lot by watching him play. He has good hands on the green,” said Junhasavasdikul.

Local golfer S. S. P. Chawrasia and Shubhankar Sharma, who carded four-under 68 apiece, climbed four places to be on joint third along with Amardip Sinh Malik and Ranjit Singh, who returned a hole-in-one on par-three second hole.

Indonesia Open winner Gaganjeet Bhullar scored 68 to gain eight slots and be at joint seventh.

The scores: Rashid Khan (70, 64) and Pariya Junhasavasdikul (66, 68) 134; S.S.P. Chawrasia (70, 68) and Shubhankar Sharma (70, 68), Amardip Sinh Malik (68, 70) and Ranjit Singh (68, 70) 138; Gaganjeet Bhullar (71, 68), Jyoti Randhawa (70, 69), Sanjeev Kumar (70, 69) and Khalin Joshi (67, 72) 139; Jeev Milkha Singh (69, 71) 140; Kapil Kumar (72, 69), Shiv Kapur (71, 70) and C. Muniyappa (71, 70) 141; M. Dharma (71, 71) 142.