Joshi stays in joint lead; Rashid delights

Rakesh Rao
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IN FINE FETTLE:Khalin Joshi again displayed good form to be in the joint lead.— Photo: S. Subramanium
IN FINE FETTLE:Khalin Joshi again displayed good form to be in the joint lead.— Photo: S. Subramanium

It was an eventful day at the Delhi Golf Club course. Joint overnight leader Chapchai Nirat lost his way, and Chan Kim gained the rewards for consistency after youngsters Khalin Joshi and Rashid Khan provided a glimpse of the growing depth in Indian golf.

The second round of the $300,000 SAIL-SBI Open golf championship had its moments. Rashid fired the second day’s best eight-under 64 and jumped 29 places to be tied third.

Joshi followed his first-round 66 with a steady 69 to stay in joint lead at nine-under 135. Bangladesh’s Mohammad Siddikur Rahman, too, moved to nine-under before bogeying the 16th hole, and Nirat dramatically dropped six strokes over eight holes for a 75.

Later, Rahil Gangjee produced two eagles — from 30 feet on the eighth hole and from 45 feet on the 14th — in his 66 that gave him the fifth spot at seven-under.

When the cut was applied at two-over 146, 30 Indians remained in the pruned list of 76 professionals for the last two rounds.

Jyoti Randhawa, who shot a 76 in the first round, withdrew owing to a back injury. Gaganjeet Bhullar followed his first-round 75 with a 70 to make the money-list.

Joshi’s card included two birdies and a chip-in eagle from the front edge of the 14th green.

“I hit the ball good although my putting wasn’t great. Honestly, I felt normal. I didn’t feel any pressure. Conditions were a bit easier, not much wind compared to yesterday but the flags were a bit tougher,” said the Bangalore-based Joshi, who eventually retained his overnight one-stroke lead.

Chan Kim moved from his overnight third spot to joint lead with a 68, a round that he finished with four successive birdies.

“On the 15th hole, I had a five-footer straight up the hill. I hit it to six feet on the 16th and made the left-to-right slider. On the 17th, I made another six-footer from left to right and on the 18th, made a four-footer straight up the hill. I had to trust the lines and luckily they were the right lines,” said the joint-leader.

After a par round on Wednesday, Rashid fired nine birdies against a lone, early bogey on Thursday.

On either side of his three-putts on the 13th hole, Rashid fired 20-footer birdies and followed it up with birdies of eight and six feet on the 15th and 16th holes. He took the turn and picked up another shot on the first hole and then signed off with a hat-trick of birdies.

Leading scores: 135: Khalin Joshi 66, 69, Chan Kim (US) 67, 68; 136: Mohammad Siddikur Rahman (Ban) 68, 68, Rashid Khan 72, 64; 137: Rahil Gangjee 71, 66; 138: Chiragh Kumar (68, 70); 139: Pawin Ingkhapradit (Tha) 70, 69, Shiv Kapur 69, 70, Thitipuhun Chuayprakong (Tha) 72, 67 and Anirban Lahiri 71, 68.

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