Ashok in sole lead

Sports Reporter

CHENNAI: Aggression is ingrained in Ashok Kumar's 14 golf clubs. How much ever he tries to keep it under wraps, it's bound erupts like a gushing volcano, especially when the going gets tough. After two rounds, Ashok hasn't yet taken wings, preferring to subdue his natural instincts. The 24-year-old Delhi pro, who shared the overnight lead with Bangalore's C. Muniyappa and S. Madaiah, produced a four-under 66 (total score of nine-under 131) to jump into sole lead in the Rs. 10 lakh Hyundai-Madras Gymkhana Club Open golf championship at the par-70 MGC links, Guindy on Thursday.

Lucknow's Vijay Kumar who has had a quiet three legs, shot into the limelight by submitting a card of eight-under for a total score of seven-under 133. Vijay Kumar is joined by Muniyappa and Madaiah in the second place.

As many as 70 professionals and two amateurs made the mid-way cut that was applied at six-over 146. It is for the first time on the Amby Valley PGAI Tour that so many players have made it to the money making rounds after the field was extended to 60 plus ties from this season.

After indulging in cautious play on Wednesday, Ashok maintained a safety-first approach today. The front nine was not very impressive by Ashok's standards. He birdied the third hole, but nullified it with a bogey on the fifth. Ashok bogeyed on the par-4 9th to finish his front-nine journey with one-under. The back-nine saw Ashok finding his touch as he came up with four birdies.

The 37-year-old Vijay Kumar couldn't have celebrated his birthday in a better manner. An ordinary front-nine saw him finishing at two-under. It was, however, his performance in the back-nine that pitchforked the twice Order of Merit list winner to the second position. With an eagle in the 12th and birdies in the 13th, 14th, 16th and 18th, Ashok finished at 8-under.

Top scores (after 36 holes):

Professionals: 1. 131 Ashok Kumar (65, 66); 2. 133 Vijay Kumar (71, 62), 133 C. Muniyappa (65, 68), 133 S. Madaiah (65, 68), 5. 134 Feroz Ali (67, 67), 134 S.S.P. Chowrasia (67, 67), Nabin Mondal (66, 68); 8. 135 Rafick Ali (69, 66), Rahul Ganapathy (69, 66), Sanjay Kumar (68, 67).

Amateurs: 1. 143 L. Selvadurai (ONGC) (75, 68), 2. 146 R. Prithiviraj (76, 70), 3. 147 S. Jayanan (73, 74).

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