Mukesh fails to make cut; Dharma, Feroze surge into lead

Defending champion Mukesh Kumar, the man who has won more than a hundred titles, missed the cut after being tied for the 59th spot in the CIAL Cochin Masters at the CIAL Golf Club, Nedumbassery, on Thursday evening.

Under trying conditions, Bengaluru’s M Dharma – who missed the cut here last year – finished the day as joint leader, with Kolkata’s Feroz Ali Mollah (four-under-68), with an impressive six-under-66.

Strange things can happen in golf. Defending champion Mukesh Kumar, the man who has won more than a hundred titles, missed the cut after being tied for the 59th spot in the CIAL Cochin Masters at the CIAL Golf Club, Nedumbassery, on Thursday evening.

The 50-year-old from Mhow, the second highest earner in the Rolex Rankings last season, could only manage a mediocre total of seven-over-151 after two days of action in the PGTI National Series opener.

And coming to the fore, under trying conditions, was Bengaluru’s M Dharma – who missed the cut here last year – with an impressive six-under-66 that saw him finish the day as a joint leader with Kolkata’s Feroz Ali Mollah (four-under-68) in this Rs. 60 lakh event.

Jaipur’s Vishal Singh, Noida’s Gaurav Pratap Singh and overnight joint leader Om Prakash Chouhan of Mhow were tied third at three-under-141.

Tough course

“It was very difficult today but I had one of my best days on the course. I would call this as one of India’s toughest courses. It’s long and windy here and especially after today’s rain, it was very heavy,” said the Dharmapuri-born Dharma who took to golf after being inspired by C. Muniyappa. “It becomes almost 20 yards longer, we were losing about 20 to 30 yards in the driver. But I was going good with my tee shots, I played very well.”

Four consecutive birdies, from the 14th to the 17th holes, saw Dharma, who was 13th overnight, make a huge leap to the top of the pack.

Ironing out flaws

Meanwhile, former Indian Open champion Feroz Ali Mollah (70-68), who last won an event in 2011, felt the change of fortunes came from a change of irons.

“I recently changed my irons and I feel that has had a positive effect on my hitting. My impact during hitting is better,” he said. “I believe I can win a tournament this year. I’ll be looking to improve on my putting from here on.”

The cut was declared at five-over-149 on a day of heavy early morning rain that resulted in an hour’s delay in the start of play. A total of fifty-six professionals made the cut.

The scores: 138: M. Dharma (72, 66) & Feroz Ali Mollah (70, 68); 141: Gaurav Pratap Singh (73, 68), Om Prakash Chouhan 68, 73), Vishal Singh (76,65); 142: Shivendra Singh Sisodia (68, 74), Shamim Khan (75, 67), Gunvir Rana (72, 70).