Poom leads by 4 shots at TAKE Solutions Masters

Poom Saksansin enjoyed another fruitful afternoon at the KGA, shooting four-under-67 to remain in front of the field after day two of the TAKE Solutions Masters.

Poom Saksansin in action during the TAKE Solutions Masters in Bengaluru on Friday.   -  G. P. Sampath Kumar

Poom Saksansin enjoyed another fruitful afternoon at the KGA, shooting four-under-67 to remain in front of the field after day two of the TAKE Solutions Masters.

The Thai signed for a two-round total of 11-under 131 on Friday to open up a four-stroke lead over local boy Khalin Joshi, who has now positioned himself nicely going into the weekend. One shot behind Joshi was a bunch of five, including S. Chikkarangappa (68, 68), who comes into his own when he is chasing victory.

Tied with the latter at six-under were Sujjan Singh, Viraj Madappa, Rory Hie, and Rahil Gangjee. There were seven Indians in the top 10 and 21 in the top 31. The cut was applied at three-over, with Rashid Khan (72, 76), C. Muniyappa (69, 80) and Jeev Milkha Singh (79, 73) among those who missed out.

Saksansin made only one birdie on the front nine, but sank four on the back stretch.

“It was a lot windier than yesterday,” he said.

“It was not a sideways wind; it was either a headwind or tailwind and that made tee shots difficult. I hit some good drives today but my iron play was OK.”

The Thai’s only bogey came on the par-four 17th, where he missed a relatively simple putt. “My caddy said 'straight line' but I went right and missed. I should have gone straight.”

Joshi was disappointed with his score, having made 17 greens in regulation. “Conditions are tough," he said. "The wind has been swirling and the rough is up. I did well with my wedges, setting up three tap-in birdies but I left some birdies out there. My driving and putting were not up to the mark.”

Chikkarangappa, meanwhile, endured an eventful day that he later described as a ‘roller-coaster’.

The 23-year-old made five birdies and even an eagle on the 11th, where he made a putt from 50 feet. But there were also two bogeys and a double bogey. Chikkarangappa struggled with his tee shots, hitting only three fairways in all, although his putting saved him.

“I visited so many trees that I hadn't seen in KGA all these years,” he said. “But my putting is back. I don't care if I go into the jungle when I'm putting so well.”

The double bogey on the par-five 14th was uncharacteristic of Chikkarangappa, going into a copse of trees on the right, before finding a bunker on the left. Once on the green, he three-putted from 12 feet. “If I can hit more fairways,” he said, “I know a good score is coming.” His rivals will be worried.

The scores (top 10 after 36 holes): 131: Poom Saksansin (Tha) (64, 67); 135: Khalin Joshi (Ind) (68, 67); 136: Sujjan Singh (Ind) (67, 69), Viraj Madappa (Ind) (66, 70), Rory Hie (Ina) (69, 67), Rahil Gangjee (Ind) (70, 66), S. Chikkarangappa (Ind) (68, 68); 137: Syed Saqib Ahmed (Ind) (67, 70), Danny Chia (Mas) (70, 67), Divyanshu Bajaj (Ind) (66, 71).