BWM PGA C’ship: Shubhankar Sharma moves to tied-eighth

The Indian golfer makes amends for his blip in the first round with a five-under-67 in the second.

Excellent comeback: Shubhankar Sharma en route to his round of five-under 67 on Friday.   -  Getty Images

India’s Shubhankar Sharma made amends for his blip in the first round with a flawless five-under 67 in the second round at the BMW PGA Championship here. He was tied-eighth when play was suspended overnight with six players yet to complete their rounds on Friday.

With Shubhankar finished at six-under for 36 holes, he was briefly the clubhouse leader. He was overtaken later.

Still smarting under the triple bogey he suffered on the first day, Shubhankar ensured a bogey-free round. “Pretty happy with no bogey and I started well with a good 7-Iron to five feet. Then followed a few good pars and four more birdies. The key was good putting, actually pretty much everything fell in the slot today. I was finding more fairways, iron play was better and overall I hit much today that first day,” Shubhankar said.

Shubhankar picked the first and the 14th as his best two birdies.

Danny Willett — the 2016 Masters champion — and Jon Rahm shared a two-shot halfway lead as a star-studded leaderboard also included Justin Rose and Paul Casey among others.

Willett shot a stunning seven-under-par 65 and that equalled the best score this week. He was five-under through five holes courtesy of three birdies and an eagle at the fifth, before picking up another shot at the ninth to clear the front nine in just 29 shots. Consecutive birdies at the 11th and 12th were offset by a single bogey at the 14th as he moved to an 11-under total.

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Willett joined Rahm at the summit after Rahm battled from successive bogeys on the opening two holes, following them up with four birdies on the trot to move to reach the turn in two under.

Rahm dropped a shot at the 10th but two more birdies along with an eagle three at the last. It meant he is in the hunt for a fourth Rolex Series title.

Rose, the former World No. 1, carded a four-under-68 as he chases a first win at Wentworth. He was joined on nine-under-par by Henrik Stenson as well as South Africa’s Christiaan Bezuidenhout.

India’s S. S. P. Chawrasia (72-78) will miss the cut which will fall at one-over.

FIRST ROUND REPORT

Rory McIlroy, who shot 76 in the first round, fought back with a 69 and should make the cut at one-over on the line.

Lahiri tied-10th in Mississippi

At the Sanderson Farms Championship in Jackson, Mississippi, Anirban Lahiri opened his delayed second round with a string of birdies and raced to four-under through first five holes before slowing down. He was unable to finish his second round due to storms and was four-under for second round through 14 holes on Friday. At a total of seven-under, Lahiri was Tied-10th and looking at a good weekend.

Lahiri opened with a birdie from 22 feet on first and had two more on third and fourth before holing a big 29-footer as he went to four-under through five holes. He parred next five before adding another birdie from nine and a half feet but dropped a shot on Par-3 after not getting his second shot right.

Lahiri was excellent with some of his long putts as he holed a 22-footer and a 29-footer besides a 10-footer and a nine-footer. He did have one bogey, but so far he has five birdies in the second round. Daniel Chopra (69-71) was sure of making the cut and he was T-42nd with a lot of players yet to complete their second round. Arjun Atwal (74-71) was sure to miss the cut, which was likely to fall at three-under.

Anirban Lahiri hits over a set of chairs along the first fairway rough during the second round. Photo: AP

 

Also missing the cut was debutant and rookie 17-year-old Akshay Bhatia, who has just turned professional. The American player of Indian origins — his Indian parents settled in the U.S. — shot 70 in first round and added a 74 to go two-over.

If the weather cooperates, play should be back to schedule with a new PGA Tour policy that reduces the cut to top 65 and ties.

South Korea’s star An Byeong Hun, who recently came close to a maiden PGA Tour win, played 25 holes on Friday but made a bunch of birdies even as a storm threatened to spoil his momentum.

An first finished off a six-under 66 in the morning and then birdied four straight holes to start the second round, carrying the former U.S. Amateur champion to another 66 as he held a two-shot lead when the second round was halted by darkness. So with two 66s, he is looking ready for a shot at his maiden win on PGA.

Behind him was J. T. Poston, who finished his first round with a 64 and added 70 in second. Poston had a share of first round lead, but An overtook him after 36 holes. George McNeill (67-67) was also tied second with Poston, Tom Hoge (64-70) and Scottie Scheffler (68-66), a rookie who led the Korn Ferry Tour Finals that just ended earlier this month. Scheffler also has 13 birdies through 36 holes.

Chile’s Joaquin Niemann ran into a rough patch and was hovering around the cut line until a late birdie. He was at four-under — two shots above the projected cut line — with two holes remaining.

Aditi makes cut in France

Three Indian golfers — including Aditi Ashok — entered the weekend rounds at the Lacoste Ladies Open de France, near Bordeaux, France. With only 13 players under par for 36 holes, Nelly Korda (68-64) led the field at 10-under and the next best was four-under for Charlotte Thompson (68-70) and Azahara Munoz (66-72).

Temperatures reached 32 degrees celsius at Le Pian de Medoc, but a swirling breeze made scoring trickier for the afternoon starters.

Leading the Indian challenge was Aditi, who with 71-73 on first two days was T-31 at two-over, while Diksha Dagar, the only Indian to have won the Ladies European Tour this season, had rounds of 72-73 to be T-37th. Tvesa Malik just squeezed into weekend with 73-75.

Aditi Ashok is tied-31st at two-over, at the Lacoste Ladies Open de France. File Photo: AP

 

Astha Madan, however, missed the cut with rounds of 77-73. The cut fell at six-over and Madan was eight-over.

World No. 10 Korda, the joint leading points’ scorer for the United States Solheim Cup team at Gleneagles last week, took command on Day Two. The 21-year-old carded a morning round of seven-under-par 64 to take a six-stroke lead into the weekend on 10-under-par.

England’s Charlotte Thompson, France’s Joanna Klatten and Spain’s Solheim Cup star Azahara Munoz all played in the hot and breezy afternoon conditions and are tied for second on four-under.

Fellow European Solheim Cup player Celine Boutier from France is seven shots from the lead, and tied-fifth with Nobuhle Dlamini, Jenny Haglund and Madelene Sagstrom. Defending champion Caroline Hedwall is tied at 14th on level par.