GURGAON : Defending champion SSP Chawrasia was back in business on a rain-affected second day of the Indian Open on Friday. After an even-par first round, the Kolkata pro braved the elements to shoot a sizzling five-under 67 to jump to the top of the leaderboard.
While his putter let him down on the opening round (two bogeys in the back nine cost him dear), five birdies in the second round, including one on the par-5 eighth, put him in a commanding position. “I am happy to be bogey-free today,” he told reporters after his round. “It’s quite an achievement to be bogey-free. My putter was hot today. I converted from 25 feet and 20 feet on the fifth and eighth, respectively.”
The Gary Player Course at the Delhi Golf and Country Club has been tripping up a few players as the green are a little tough to negotiate. The 38-year-old, who represented India at the Olympics, did touch on that while explaining how his fortunes changed.
“It’s a tricky course as the greens are tough to negotiate,” he said. “It needs full focus. It was not any easier today but it was less windy. It’s important to mix caution with aggression while playing here. The main difference was that the putts went in today.”
The tournament has usually been kind to Indians but the first two days have been a bloodbath for the hosts. The next Indian after Chawrasia is Jyoti Randhawa, at tied 19th. Anirban Lahiri, who is in danger of missing the cut, has 12 more holes to salvage himself some pride. He managed to complete only six holes thanks to poor weather. To compound matters, he also shot a double bogey on the par-4 sixth.
Lightning had a more profound effect on the likes of Honey Baisoya, a winner on the PGTI this calendar year. He was disqualified (on technical grounds) after he decided to not come back to complete his final round.
When he was on the final hole, play was suspended and he had the option of returning on Saturday. However, he decided against it as he was anyway missing the cut (set at five-under). He was 18-over for the tournament when he showed the white flag.
Leaderboard: SSP Chawrasia (Ind) -5, David Horsey (Eng) -4, Matteo Manassero (Ita) -3, Eddie Pepperell (Eng) -3, Carlos Pigem (Esp) -2, Michael Hoey (Nir) -2, Sam Walker (Eng) -2, Danny Chia (Mas) -2.