PGTI: Mukesh Kumar consolidates lead

Starting on the tenth tee, Mukesh made four birdies and a bogey on the front nine, before picking up another shot on the back stretch to consolidate his position with a round of four-under-par-68 to sign for a two-day total of 12-under-132.

Mukesh Kumar, who shot a four-under-68 on Wednesday to retainhis one-shot lead at the PGTI Players' Championship, poses at theEagleton Golf Resort here.   -  Shreedutta Chidananda

Mukesh Kumar held firm on a windy day at the Eagleton Golf Resort to remain on top of the heap after two rounds of the PGTI Players' Championship.

On an afternoon when S. Chikkarangappa and Udayan Mane — expected to challenge for the lead — slipped behind, Mukesh consolidated his position with a round of four-under-par-68 to sign for a two-day total of 12-under-132. One stroke behind was Chandigarh's Sujjan Singh (133), who shot seven-under-65 on Wednesday. Delhi's Shamim Khan and Kapil Kumar were tied for third (134), with Shubhankar Sharma (135) in fifth. Mane shot one-under to slip four places to tied sixth (136) while Chikkarangappa (137) fell from tied fifth to tied ninth after a round of two-under-70.

Starting on the tenth tee, Mukesh made four birdies and a bogey on the front nine, before picking up another shot on the back stretch. “I did not putt very well today,” the 50-year-old from Mhow said afterwards. “There was no problem with the course. The fault was mine. I read the line wrong. I missed two eagle opportunities from 15 feet (on 17 and 7). I don't want to let go of this lead easily after having played well for two rounds. I want to win this tournament.”

Meanwhile, Sujjan, who finished 17th on the Order of Merit last year, climbed up from tied seventh overnight to second place with his round. The 35-year-old sank four consecutive birdies early on, from holes four through seven. “I’m playing with a new driver this week and that’s worked well for me,” he said later. “I’m finding more fairways. I also made more putts today.”

The day's best score of 64 came from Noida's Vikrant Chopra, who drained eight birdies to move up to joint ninth. The cut was applied at one-under-143, with 53 professionals and two amateurs making the grade. Shivendra Singh Sisodia, who was joint second overnight with a first round of 65, missed the cut after a score of 80 in round two.

The scores (top nine after two rounds): 132: Mukesh Kumar (64-68); 133: Sujjan Singh (68-65); 134: Shamim Khan (68-66), Kapil Kumar (67-67); 135: Shubhankar Sharma (65-70); 136: Rahul Ravi (A) (68-68), Udayan Mane (65-71), Anura Rohana (68-68); 137: K. Harish (69-68), Vikrant Chopra (73-64), S. Chikkarangappa (67-70), M. Dharma (69-68).