Sanjay Kumar showed fine consistency with successive four-under-68 scores to grab the halfway lead at the PGTI McLeod Russel Tour Championship here at the Royal Calcutta Golf Club on Friday.

The Lucknow-based veteran tallied eight-under-136 after the second round to overtake a notable Asian Tour player Anirban Lahiri. The Bengaluru golfer, who topped the leaderboard overnight with a fine six-under-68, failed to maintain his form and could manage one-under-71 in the second round. His good first-round score kept him in the second spot with an aggregate of seven-under-137.

Sanjay rose from the overnight tied-third position, producing the most consistent show so far. Sanjay started with a 15-feet birdie putt on the first hole, which laid the foundation for another good day. With six professional titles under his belt, the 42-year-old golfer consolidated thereafter with birdies on the fifth and 12th, where he sunk putts ranging from eight to 12 feet. On the side of misses, Sanjay made one bogey which came on the 13th where he miscued a chip-putt. He then made up for the lapse with birdie putts on the 15th and 17th.

“I felt more comfortable today and was hitting better as compared to round one. The birdie on the opening hole got me in rhythm and I tried built upon the good start focusing on the green in regulation,” Sanjay after seeing himself on top of the leaderboard. “More importantly, I just dropped one bogey today. I’m not looking at a number for the third round but will look to hit maximum fairways,” Sanjay, currently placed 23rd on the Rolex rankings, said.

Confident start

Anirban, a three-time winner on the Asian Tour, made a confident start with a 15-feet birdie conversion on the second and another birdie on the fourth to maintain his overnight lead in the first nine. The Bengaluru golfer conceded the lead to Sanjay after hitting rough patch on the 11th and 13th holes.

Anirban made a double bogey on the 11th after a poor second shot landed on the cart-path and the player missed the green from there. Anirban incurred more arrears on the 13th as a result of a poor bunker shot. He recovered some ground sinking 10-footers for birdies on the 14thand 16th.

Kolkata’s Rahil Gangjee kept local hopes alive as he shot a 68 to end round two in tied third at six-under-138, which was punctuated by five birdies and a bogey and also included two birdie putts from 20 to 25 feet. Abhinav Lohan of Faridabad joined Rahil in tied third after signing a card of 70 that featured four birdies and two bogeys.

The scores (after second round): 136: Sanjay Kumar (68, 68); 137: Anirban Lahiri (66, 71); 138: Abhinav Lohan (68, 70), Rahil Gangjee (70, 68); 139: Gaurav Pratap Singh (70, 69), Jyoti Randhawa (67, 72); 140: Chiragh Kumar (71, 69), Vikrant Chopra (71, 69), Khalin H. Joshi (69, 71); 141: S. Chikkarangappa (70, 71), Angad Cheema (69,72), Shankar Das (71, 70), Rashid Khan (72, 69), Amardip Sinh Malik (73, 68).

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