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Ghei one stroke behind leader Karlberg

Shamim Khan.—   | Photo Credit: Photo: Sandeep Saxena

Y.B. Sarangi

NEW DELHI: Gaurav Ghei raised his performance a few notches to leap to the second place, while Richard Karlberg maintained his one-stroke lead at the half-way stage in the $300,000 SAIL Open tournament at the Delhi Golf Club (DGC) here on Wednesday.

Ghei, overnight tied for the sixth spot, carded a five-under 67 for a total of 135. Thanks to his great second shot, he started with bang by sinking an eagle on the first hole.

Following a barren phase, the veteran's tee-shot on the 11th hit the trees and came out. From the rough, he hit the left bunker from where he holed it out.

Some good short putts — on the 15th, 16th and 17th — made the day for Ghei on his home course. The only blemish for him was the bogey on the 13th.

Strange round

“It was a strange round because I started off hitting it really well but could not convert my chances and on the back nine I was hitting it average and holed a few putts,” said Ghei.

Shamim Khan scored a three-under 69 for a two-day aggregate of 136 and the joint-third slot. He overcame a small distraction on his seventh hole (16th on the course) to stay in contention. A crow took away his ball from the green and caused a delay for his group, including Craig Smith and Zaw Moe.

Jyoti Randhawa's rise to fifth place spoke volumes about his fighting qualities. With a second day card of four-under and a total of six-under, he can be a real threat for other title aspirants.

The going was a bit tougher for leader Karlberg. Teeing off from the 10th, the Swede dropped a shot on the 16th. However, he kept his composure to return birdies on the first, fourth, sixth and eighth to have a decent three-under 69 for the day.

Day's best performer

With his dream round of eight-under 64, Japanese Kodai Ichihara emerged the performer of the day. He sank nine birdies, including seven in a row, to jump 111 places.

As many as 69 players made the cut, which was decided at one-over-par.

The scores (Indians unless specified): Richard Karlberg (Swe, 65, 69) 134; Gaurav Ghei (68, 67) 135; Shamim Khan (67, 69) and Chinnarat Phadungsil (Tha, 66, 70) 136; Jyoti Randhawa (70, 68) 138; S.S.P. Chowrasia (66, 73) and Shiv Kapur (67, 72) 139; Artemio Murakami (Phi, 69, 71), Kodai Ichihara (Jpn, (76, 64), Hirotaro Naito (Jpn, 70, 70), Gaganjeet Bhullar (68, 72), Himmat Singh Rai (69, 71), Pol Kemmarat (Tha, 69, 71), Rahil Gangjee (69, 71) and Pappan (71, 69) 140; Gurbazz Mann (69, 72), Manav Jaini (68, 73), Lam Chih Bing (Sin, 70, 71), S. Siva Chandran (Mas, 71, 70), Sean Shahi (USA, 69, 72) and Danny Chia (Mas, 70, 71) 141 .