Samarth, Aman Raj make cut in windy conditions in Hong Kong

Out of the six Indians in fray, Samarth Dwivedi (67-73) at Tied-38th and Aman Raj (70-72) at Tied-48th were the only ones to make the cut, which fell at three-over 143. Viraj Madappa (70-74), Karandeep Kochar (69-75), Priyanshu Singh (70-74) were Tied-63rd and missed the cut by one as only Top-60 and ties moved ahead. Veer Ahlawat (75-79) was further down in Tied-88th place.

Aman Raj (in pic) at Tied-48th and Samarth Dwivedi Tied 38th were the only Indians to make the cut.   -  K. Ananthan

Strong windy conditions and lots of putting woes took the sting out of Indian challenge in the second round of Asia-Pacific Amateur golf Championships as only two Indians made the cut at the picturesque but demanding Clearwater Bay Golf and Country Club here today.

Out of the six Indians in fray, Samarth Dwivedi (67-73) at Tied-38th and Aman Raj (70-72) at Tied-48th were the only ones to make the cut, which fell at three-over 143.

Viraj Madappa (70-74), Karandeep Kochar (69-75), Priyanshu Singh (70-74) were Tied-63rd and missed the cut by one as only Top-60 and ties moved ahead. Veer Ahlawat (75-79) was further down in Tied-88th place.

With the weather set to deteriorate and a typhoon expected on Sunday the third round will become all the more crucial.

The lead stayed with China's Cheng Jin (62-68) at 10-under and he was two ahead of Japan's Takashi Ogiso 67-65) and three shots clear off China's Zihan She (67-66), Australian Cameron Davis (69-64) and another Australian Ryan Ruffels (69-64) at seven-under 133.

Dwivedi, who is the best placed Indian, said, “The conditions were very windy in the morning. At times we were hitting two clubs higher and still falling short. Most scores were hit by the conditions in the morning. It became slightly better in the afternoon and the wind picked up again in late afternoon.”

Dwivedi, who finished with a 67 on first day, went three over in an eventful round that saw four birdies, five bogeys and one double.

Dwivedi, ranked third in India, started with a birdie on 10th, gave away that on the next hole and made it worse with a double on 12th. Another bogey on 15th meant he was already three-over for the day after six holes. He birdied 16th and bogeyed 17th to turn in three-over. Thereafter he found birdies on second and seventh but also gave away bogeys on first and fifth.

Aman Raj had a nice patch between seventh and 11th, during which he found three birdies, but bogeys on first and sixth and then a double on 12th and a final bogey on 17th saw him drop down. “Things just did not happen today, maybe I can pull back some tomorrow,” said Aman Raj, the top-ranked player on Indian Golf Union Merit list.

Madappa flirted with the cutline the whole afternoon. He had a roller coaster ride with five birdies, seven bogeys and a double bogey. Not even a birdie on 18th could keep him in for the last two rounds.

It was an extremely windy morning, when the 27 players came back to resume their first round. All of them were hit by the windy conditions and the worst hit was India's Priyanshu Singh.

The 19-year-old Florida-based lad, needing to play four holes in the morning dropped a bogey on 15th and then had back-to-back double bogeys on 17th and 18th to drop from five-under to even par.

Priyanshu barely had time to recover from the morning carnage, when he came back for the second round an hour and a half later. He composed himself with a birdie on second, but gave the shot back on the next.

A further birdie on seventh showed he was ready to fight back, but the back nine pushed him back hard.