New Delhi, 25-03-2022

Veer Ahlawat on the rise at The DGC Open presented by Mastercard, Ahlawat fires 67 to establish two-shot lead in round two

Ajeetesh Sandhu and Gaganjeet Bhullar also shine, placed in top-6; Seven Indians in top-10

India’s Veer Ahlawat, who has been a picture of consistency on the PGTI over the last two seasons, enjoyed a fruitful outing at The DGC Open presented by Mastercard for the second day in succession on Friday as he shot a flawless 67 to take a two-shot lead at the halfway stage at a total of nine-under 135.

Ajeetesh Sandhu’s (68) presence in second place at seven-under 137 further raised Indian hopes of a long-awaited victory on the international stage.

Gaganjeet Bhullar (66) also kept the tricolour fluttering as he was in tied fourth at five-under 139 at the Delhi Golf Club.

The three Thai golfers in the top-6 are Nitithorn Thippong (third at six-under 138), Chanat Sakulpolphaisan and Kasidit Lepkurte (both tied fourth at five-under 139).

The four Indians bunched in tied seventh at four-under 140 were Manu Gandas, Karandeep Kochhar, M Dharma and Kapil Kumar.

The cut was applied at five-over 149. Sixty-seven professionals made the cut including 38 Indians.

The 26-year-old Veer Ahlawat (68-67), who was overnight tied third and one off the lead, had a whirlwind first half on Friday as he picked up five birdies on his back-nine including four on the trot from the 12th to the 15th. The tall and lanky Veer, a winner on the PGTI in 2019, began his birdie run with a 15-feet conversion on the 12th. Ahlawat then consistently landed it within four feet to sink four more birdies before making the turn.

Veer, known for hitting it long and straight, had a relatively quieter front-nine as he made pars all the way from the first to the ninth. He made some good par saves on the seventh and ninth, draining a 15-footer on the latter.

Ahlawat, who claimed fifth place on the PGTI Order of Merit in the last two seasons, said, “On the back nine, I started pretty good and I was sticking it really close on the back nine. I made five birdies.

“Then I went on the front nine where I missed the chip putt on the 1st for a birdie and after that, I did hit it pretty close. I didn’t make most of them. But I, but I did save a few par putts like on the 7th where I holed a 6 footer and then on the last hole I made a  15 footer for par.

“My swing is feeling pretty good so I was pretty confident that if I keep hitting it in the fairway, I’m going to hit good second shots so that was my plan for today. Just keep it in play - you don't have to get it long off the tee, just keep it in play.

“The wind was much less today morning than yesterday afternoon.  In the back nine, it did start blowing a little bit, but it wasn't that much. I think my iron shots were on point today. I hit them pretty close and I did hold putts so my putting is also rolling pretty good.”

Ajeetesh Sandhu (69-68), lying overnight tied fifth, produced another bogey-free round like leader Ahlawat, to move up three spots on the leaderboard. Ajeetesh, an Asian Tour winner, made birdie on the 14th and followed it up with three more birdies on the front-nine as he did well with his 5-wood and the wedges. He made two exceptional par saves on the 18th and ninth.

Sandhu said, “I’m happy but I think there were a lot of missed opportunities. It was tough with the wind today. I think you really had to be patient.

“The highlight of the day has to be the par save on the 18th. I actually hit a driver off the tee and I hit it right into the bush. I chipped out, laid up and then hit a wedge shot very close to make a good up and down.”

Nine-time Asian Tour winner Gaganjeet Bhullar (73-66) mixed eight birdies and two bogeys in his round of 66. Bhullar’s round featured an incredible run of five straight birdies from the 13th to the 17th. He made a 40-feet conversion on the 15th.

Pictures: Asian Tour



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