Shuffling between his duties as the host of the event and a player, Jeev Milkha Singh was pleased that the Shubhkamna Champions golf had achieved success in its inaugural edition and held the prospect of becoming an Asian Tour event next year.
With Daniel Chopra retaining his two-stroke lead amidst stiff competition on the second day and a good number of spectators following the trio of Jeev, Jyoti Radhawa and Arjun Atwal (sharing 21 Asian Tour titles among them and playing in a group for the first time), the event had achieved its goal at the Noida Golf Course on Saturday.
“The sponsors have been very happy. The event has become successful in its trial run. There is good crowd. We will see if we can get it co-sanctioned with Asian and PGTI next year,” said Jeev.
Beyond the golfing action, the event struck a chord as all the golfers flashed black ribbons on their caps to support the Delhi gang-rape victim. “It is for the lady. She is a fighter. Hope she recovers. We wish her good healthy and recovery,” said Jeev.
Young Gaganjeet Bhullar also showed solidarity with the victim. “There was a call from an NGO to join today’s protest for the cause. I wish I could join. But, at least we could do this.”
Amidst all this, Chopra continued to feel at home at the course where he had never played before. He shot a blemish free round of four-under 68 to lead the pack with a total of 12-under 132.
The Swede played with patience to get four birdies, including two 15-footer putts on seventh and 15th. Chopra was excited about the prospect of winning the title on his birthday. “I have never played a tournament on my birthday. So it will be nice to do well and maybe win,” he said.
Bhullar rode on his fine performance on the back-nine to card another five-under round and was tied for the second place at 10-under with Shiv Kapur, who scored six-under for the day despite dropping a shot on the final hole.
Anirban Lahiri too played a six-under round to jump to the fourth spot at nine-under 135.
The scores: Daniel Chopra (64, 68) 132; Gaganjeet Bhullar (67, 67) and Shiv Kapur (68, 66) 134; Anirban Lahiri (69, 66) 135; Mukesh Kumar (68, 71), Shamim Khan (72, 67) and Abhijit Singh Chadha (69, 70) 139; Anura Rohana (66, 74), Jeev Milkha Singh (69, 71), Arjun Atwal (70, 70) and Zamal Hossain Mollah (70, 70) 140; Jyoti Randhawa (68, 73) 141; Ajeetesh Sandhu (66, 76) and Kunal Bhasin (73, 69) 142; Ashok Kumar (71, 73) 144.