Khalin Joshi to the fore in round two, shoots a 67 to grab two-shot lead at Vooty & Haldi Presents Golconda Masters 2020 Powered by Telangana Tourism
Veer Ahlawat in second, Shamim Khan cards day’s best 63 to rise to tied third
Bengaluru’s Khalin Joshi posted a four-under-67 to take centrestage in round two of the Vooty & Haldi Presents Golconda Masters Golf Championship 2020 Powered by Telangana Tourism being played at the Hyderabad Golf Club (HGC). Joshi grabbed a two-shot lead as his halfway total stood at 11-under-131.
Gurugram’s Veer Ahlawat fired a 68 to move into second place at nine-under-133.
Shamim Khan produced the day’s best score of 63 to rise to tied third at eight-under-134. The three others in joint third were Kolkata’s Shankar Das, Bengaluru’s Trishul Chinnappa and Chandigarh’s Angad Cheema.
The halfway cut was declared at one-over-143. Fifty-five professionals made the cut.
Khalin Joshi (64-67), lying overnight tied second and one off the lead, got off to a flying start on Thursday with a birdie blitz on the first three holes where he played his wedges to perfection. The 27-year-old former Asian Tour winner landed his lob wedge approach from 44 yards within an inch of the pin on the second hole.
Khalin then had a bumpy stretch as a three-putt and two erratic tee shots brought him three bogeys in exchange for two birdies between the fifth and the ninth. Joshi, a four-time winner on the PGTI, made his fourth three-putt of the tournament on the 10th where he made par after missing a two-footer for birdie.
However, Khalin salvaged the round and emerged leader with birdies on the 14th and 15th making a 17-footer on the latter.
Joshi said, “I had a terrific start and was in good ball-striking form. However, I feel I could’ve played better as I didn’t really capitalize on the start. The two bogeys on the par-3s were quite disappointing and so were the two three-putts. But I put together a solid back-nine and made good of a lucky break on the 15th.
“I have always done well here at the HGC as I have three top-10s including a runner-up finish and two other top-20s in my five previous appearances at the Golconda Masters. I always put myself in contention here and am confident of doing so this year too.
“My neck pain is much better but it still hurts a little bit when I look up to line up my shot. Hopefully it’ll get even better and give me some relief over the next two days.”
Veer Ahlawat (65-68), who was tied fifth and two off the lead after round one, made a move up the leaderboard with an eventful round. Veer, another consistent performer at the HGC, was six-under over the first 10 holes having made a 30-feet eagle on the eighth along with five birdies at the cost of a bogey.
Ahlawat, who enjoyed a career-best fifth place finish on the PGTI Rankings last year, then made a couple of errors with his tee shots on the 14th and 17th that resulted in a bogey and a double-bogey respectively.
Veer said, “My first 10 holes and last eight holes were contrasting. I was playing extremely well till the 10th but then seemed to lose focus after the bogey on the 14th. It was downhill thereafter.
“My driving and putting were good but I didn’t finish the round well. The yardage on the 14th hole troubled me for the second day in succession. I had a bogey there in round one as well,” added Ahlawat, who earned his breakthrough win on the PGTI last season.
Shamim Khan produced a fabulous run of five consecutive birdies from the 13th to the 17th during his 63. He sank a total of 10 birdies against two bogeys.
Prominent names including Delhi’s Rashid Khan (69), Pune’s Udayan Mane (67) and Patna’s Aman Raj (71) were in tied seventh at seven-under-135.
Round one leader Karandeep Kochhar of Chandigarh shot a 75 and thus dropped to tied 20th at four-under-138.
Venkkat Gautham (69-72) was the only Hyderabad-based professional to make the cut. He was in tied 37th at one-under-141.
Former Indian hockey captain Dilip Tirkey, playing as a professional for the first time, missed the cut as he totaled 26-over-168.
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