Gurugram, Haryana, 29 Mar 2019

Rashid Khan and Shubhankar Sharma keep Indian hopes alive on day two

PGTI member N Thangaraja of Sri Lanka placed tied 12th

Rashid Khan and Shubhankar Sharma shot contrasting second rounds of two-under-70 and one-over-73 respectively, but both managed to keep Indian hopes alive at the halfway stage of the Hero Indian Open 2019 at the pristine DLF Golf & Country Club.

Two-time Asian Tour winner Rashid and two-time European Tour winner Shubhankar, the best-placed Indians at the end of round two, were both in tied 19th with a tally of two-under-142. The duo trailed the leader Julian Suri of the United States by eight shots at the US$ 1.75 million event.

PGTI member N Thangaraja (71-70) of Sri Lanka returned a two-under-70 to end the day in tied 12th place at three-under-141. He gained 16 places from round one.

The cut was declared at two-over-146. Seventy professionals made the cut. Out of a total of 37 Indians, eight made the cut.

Rashid Khan (72-70) made significant gains in round two as he climbed 27 spots from his overnight tied 46th after mixing four birdies with two bogeys for a 70. 

Khan, a winner of two events on the PGTI in the last four months, reaped the reward of getting some good practice at the Kalhaar Blues & Greens course in Ahmedabad last week that prepared him well for the daunting challenges at the DLF course. 

Rashid said, “I had a good start and finish today. I placed the ball well and rolled in the putts. Shooting an under-par round on this course is always an encouraging sign so I’m quite satisfied with today’s effort.

“This course requires a lot of patience as you have to play away from some of the flags. I managed to do that well today.

“I had a good preparation for this event as I was invited to practice for a few days at the Kalhaar Blues & Greens Course in Ahmedabad last week. Playing at Kalhaar gave me a feel of the DLF Golf & Country Club as both courses are similar in many ways.

“Like DLF, the Kalhaar course also has greens with slopes and water hazards on both sides on many holes. So the practice rounds at Kalhaar worked out well for me. I would like to thank Mr. Devang Shah for giving me the opportunity to practice at Kalhaar.”

Shubhankar Sharma (69-73) slipped 12 spots on Friday after a sedate 73 that saw him make two birdies and three bogeys. After a consistent first round, Sharma, the 2018 European Tour Rookie of the Year, made a flying start in round two with a birdie on the first. However, his putting let him down thereafter as he dropped bogeys on the fourth and eighth and found it hard to recover subsequently.

Shubhankar, “I’m not too happy with the day. A one-over is not what I had expected today. I didn’t feel like I played bad but missing crucial putts on the front-nine made a lot of difference. I was just struggling to make pars on the front-nine.

“I was in a position to birdie the fourth and eighth but ended up dropping bogeys there which in effect meant that I lost four shots on those two holes. Those two bogeys were definitely big setbacks.

“If I had birdied the fifth and moved to one-under once again, things could’ve been very different. Landing it in the water on the eighth was also a big disappointment. The importance of scoring on the front-nine can be stressed by the fact that one doesn’t get too many birdie opportunities on the back-nine here.

“I made pars on the last two holes but was not satisfied with a couple of shots there as well. I could’ve been in better positions on both holes.

“I have to push on the last two days to have a chance and not make same mistakes as the first two rounds. I now have to get my ‘A’ game out on the weekend to make up lost ground.”

Chikkarangappa (70) and Rahil Gangjee (74) were the next best Indians in tied 41st at even-par-144.

Ajeetesh Sandhu (71) was a further shot back in tied 53rd.

The trio of Gaganjeet Bhullar (74), Gaurav Pratap Singh (73) and two-time Indian Open champion SSP Chawrasia (72) also made it to the weekend as they totalled two-over-146 to be placed tied 61st.

The prominent Indian names that missed the cut were 2015 champion Anirban Lahiri (four-over-148), Shiv Kapur (four-over-148), Khalin Joshi (five-over-149) and Jyoti Randhawa (six-over-150).

Om Prakash Chouhan (four-over-148) made a hole-in-one on the fifth and was looking good to make his place in the top-20 but had a disastrous closing 18th where he made a quadruple-bogey (9) after finding the hazard thrice. He thus missed the cut by two shots.

About PGTI:

Formed in 2006, Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) is the recognised official body of professional golf in India. PGTI's objective is to promote professional golf in the country, as well as to give players an opportunity to be involved in the decision making on all aspects of the game. Headed by Mr. Gautam Thapar (President), PGTI's governing body comprises leading Indian golf professionals. PGTI currently has over 300 members.

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