McLeod Russel Tour Championship: Consistent Rashid gains lead

Rashid Khan emulated his first day’s performance of five-under-67 to gain a sole lead with an aggregate of 10-under-134 on the second day of the McLeod Russel Tour Championship.

Rashid Khan in action on the second day of the McLeod Russel Tour Championship at the Royal Calcutta Golf Club.   -  PTI

Delhi’s Rashid Khan played consistently well to repeat his first day’s performance of five-under-67 on the second day of the McLeod Russel Tour Championship. This was the best score of the second round, hoisting Rashid to the sole lead with an aggregate of 10-under-134 at the Royal Calcutta Golf Club, the course where he has been doing well over the years.

Khan had a dream start to the day as he birdied the first four holes and took that advantage to establish a one-shot lead over Rahil Gangjee. The Bengaluru golfer, who previously was a resident of the city, remained the only one to be bogey-free through the first 36 holes. He scored a 68 in the second round to occupy the second place at nine-under-135. The opening round leader and one of the pre-tournament favourites, Shubhankar Sharma of Chandigarh, dropped to the third place after hitting a 70 that brought his total to eight-under-136.

Lying tied second after the first round, Rashid (67-67) had a remarkable start making birdies on the first four holes thanks to some extremely accurate iron shots. A two-time Asian Tour winner, Rashid slipped a bit with a double-bogey on the seventh which happened as he could not recover from a tough ‘lie’ in the rough in his first attempt.

Day 1 report: Shubhankar scores six-under, takes lead

Rashid recovered well with two long birdie conversions on the ninth and 14th to return to four-under for the day. He also had a stroke of good luck on the 18th, where his approach shot from the rough hit the flag stick and landed two feet from the hole thereby giving him a ‘tap-in’ birdie.

Rahil also had consistent putting that kept him in the hunt on day two. He went error-free for the second straight day and made a 35-footer for birdie on the 12th that earned him a round of applause.

Shubhankar had an off day with the putter that saw him slip to the third spot. He made pars on the first 10 holes but then picked up the pace with three birdies on the next five holes. But he dropped a bogey on the 16th to close the day two strokes behind the leader.

Local favourite SSP Chawrasia scored four-under-68 in his second round to improve his position by eight spots form overnight’s tied 12th. He shared fourth place with Patna’s Aman Raj at five-under-139.

The scores (after round II): Rashid Khan (67, 67) 134, Rahil Gangjee (67, 68) 135, Shubhankar Sharma (66, 70) 136, S.S.P. Chawrasia (71, 68) 139, Aman Raj (69, 70) 139, Ajeetesh Sandhu (72, 68) 140, Khalin Joshi (71, 69) 140, Veer Ahlawat (71, 69) 140, Viraj Madappa (70, 70) 140, N. Thangaraja (69, 71) 140, Abhijit Singh Chadha (70, 71) 141.