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Kolkata, March 14, 2020
Udayan Mane of Pune, looking for a record fourth straight title on the Tata Steel PGTI, was back in familiar territory as he found himself in the joint lead at 10-under 130 at the half-way stage of the Bengal Open Golf Championship being played at the Tollygunge Club in Kolkata on Friday.
Interestingly, pre-tournament favourite Mane’s (67-63) seven-under 63 on Friday was his 14th consecutive round in the 60s on the PGTI.
Bengaluru’s Khalin Joshi (67-63), Chandigarh’s Aadil Bedi (65-65) and Mhow’s Om Prakash Chouhan (65-65), too, enjoyed a share of the second-round lead.
Gurugram’s Digvijay Singh, the first-round leader, slipped to tied-fifth at nine-under 131 after recording a 69 on day two. Mukesh Kumar (65) of Mhow and Sri Lankan N Thangaraja (66) also joined Digvijay in tied-fifth.
Noida’s Dipankar Kaushal shot the best round of the day, a flawless eight-under 62, to be placed eighth at eight-under 132.
The cut was declared at even-par 140. Fifty-six professionals progressed to the weekend rounds.
Mane started his round with a 15-feet eagle conversion on the 10th and backed that up with consecutive birdies on the 12th, 13th and 14th where he sank two putts from a range of 18 to 20 feet. A missed chip-putt on the 18th resulted in Mane’s only bogey of the day.
Udayan, however, kept up the intensity on the front-nine by picking up three more birdies thanks to two conversions from a range of 12 to 15 feet.
Mane said, “I hit more fairways today in comparison to yesterday and thus created more birdie opportunities. I also took advantage of the par-5s today. I was four-under on the par-5s in round two as compared to one-under in round one.
“I’ve been playing some of my best golf over the last few months and the confidence has just grown with each passing event. I’m enjoying myself on the golf course and that reflects in my scores.”
Like Mane, Joshi too began his round with an eagle on the 10th where he drained an eight-footer. He then collected four more birdies on the back-nine in exchange for two bogeys. He went on to add an additional three birdies to his card on the front-nine.
Joshi said, “I made a number of putts from a range of 10 to 12 feet today and holed more putts than I did in the first round. That was the big difference. However, I was also disappointed to miss out on three birdie putts within five feet.”
Bedi, playing his first PGTI event of the season, mixed six birdies with a bogey during his round of 65. Bedi landed his drives near the green on the 14th and 15th to set up chip-putt birdies.
Om Prakash Chouhan was seven-under for the day through the first 13 holes before he stumbled with three bogeys on the 14th, 15th and 17th where he struggled with his approach shots and missed chip-putts. Om Prakash, however, did manage to extract a birdie on the 16th.
Dipankar Kaushal’s sensational effort saw him land a lot of shots within five feet of the pin. Dipankar’s round lifted him 34 spots from his overnight tied 42nd.
Chikkarangappa S was placed ninth at seven-under-133.Kolkata’s Viraj Madappa, Bengaluru’s Rahil Gangjee and defending champion Md Zamal Hossain Mollah of Bangladesh were among the five players bunched in tied 10th at six-under 134.