Khalin Joshi
Khalin Joshi

Golf: Khalin Joshi cards 67 to take two-shot lead at Golconda Masters

NetIndian News Network

Hyderabad, February 6, 2020

Bengaluru’s Khalin Joshi posted a four-under 67 to take centrestage in round two of the Golconda Masters Golf Championship at the Hyderabad Golf Club (HGC) here on Thursday.

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.

Round one leader Karandeep Kochhar of Chandigarh shot a 75 and thus dropped to tied 20th at four-under 138.

The half-way cut was declared at one-over 143. Fifty-five professionals made the cut.

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. He made his fourth three-putt of the tournament on the 10th where he made par after missing a two-footer for birdie.

However, he salvaged the round and emerged leader with birdies on the 14th and 15th making a 17-footer on the latter.

“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," he added

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. He 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.

“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,” said Veer .

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.

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.