The dramatic fall of overnight leader Chinnarat Phadungsil from the perch left fellow Thai Chapchai Nirat and the 2008 Indian Open champion Liang Wen-chong with a two-stroke lead at the halfway stage of the 1.8 million euros Avantha Masters golf at the Jaypee Greens course here on Friday.

Phadungsil, who burnt the course with a sizzling 11-under 61 on Thursday, struggled to a 74 and slipped to joint seventh place.

Hat-trick of bogeys

Starting from the 10th tee, he took 40 shots — with a hat-trick of bogeys — to complete nine holes, as against just 28 needed in the first round. Soon after taking the turn, the rattled Thai bogeyed the first hole but recovered partially by picking up three shots.

Nirat and Liang had rounds of 66 on both days for a tally of 12-under 132. The former fired seven birdies against a lone bogey before Liang caught up, his eighth birdie coming on the final hole. On the front nine, the Chinese bogeyed twice but still managed to match Nirat’s tally of 32 on either side of the turn.

The home interest was kept alive with Rahil Gangjee shooting a 66 and Abhijit Singh Chadha, a 69, to share the seventh spot.

With Jeev Milkha Singh, Anirban Lahiri and Gaganjeet Bhullar tied 20th, Saturday promises a lot for the home fans.

Gangjee had reasons to be pleased with his flawless round. Looking back on his round, Gangjee said, “I converted a few more putts today compared to the first round. I sank a dramatic 50-footer for birdie on the third hole where the ball hit the hole, jumped out and fell in. There were no destructive shots today.”

Chadha, who birdied the first two holes and looked good to emerge as the best Indian for the second successive day until he bogeyed the 17th, ended with mixed feelings. “I could’ve easily shot a 65, so it’s a little disappointing to be four shots off, but overall I have to be pretty happy with my position after two rounds.”

Failing to make the cut

After the ‘cut’ came at three-under 141 and left 74 players, including 14 Indians, star attraction and the 2010 Ryder Cup-winning captain Colin Montgomerie tied for the last and 150th spot following successive rounds of 76!

The other illustrious names making a pre-mature exit were Ryder Cup stars Thomas Levet, Eduardo Molinari, defending champion Jbe Kruger, 2010 winner Andrew Dodt, comeback man Filipe Aguilar and Daniel Chopra.

The scores (Indians unless stated):

Chapchai Nirat (Tha) (66, 66), Liang Wen-chong (Chn) (66, 66) 132; Chawlit Plaphol (Tha) (66, 68), David Drysdale (Sco) (67, 67), Tommy Fleetwood (Eng) (69, 65), Joonas Granberg (Fin) (67, 67) 134; Chinnarat Phadungsil (Tha) (61, 74), Rahil Gangjee (69, 66), Scott Hend (Aus) (67, 68), Abhijit Singh Chadha (66, 69), Jaakko Makitalo (Fin) (67, 68), Julien Quesne (Fra) (69, 66) and Adilson Da Silva (Bra) (70, 65) 135.

Other Indians who made the ‘cut’:

Jeev Milkha Singh (69, 68), Gaganjeet Bhullar (68, 69), Anirban Lahiri (68, 69) 137; Ashok Kumar (68, 71) 139; Jyoti Randhawa (70, 70), Rashid Khan (67, 73), S.S.P. Chowrasia (68, 72) 140; Himmat Rai (70, 71), Manav Jaini (70, 71), Vikrant Chopra (72, 69), Ajeetesh Sandhu (72, 69) and Mukesh Kumar (72, 69) 141.

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