The overnight leaders got off to bad starts on Day II of the Aircel Players Championship at the par-70 Tolly Club course on Wednesday. While Mukesh Kumar hung on for an one-under which kept him on top with a tally of six-under, Harmeet Kahlon’s late hattrick of birdies could only hand him a day’s card of two-over and pushed to him to joint fourth at three-under with three others.
Manav Jaini followed up his first day’s three-under with another to form a two-way tie with Mukesh. It was a steady round with four birdies and a solitary bogey. Having played an even-par round on Tuesday, Sanjay Kumar returned the day’s best score of five-under to take sole possession of the second spot. The cut was applied at five-over and 54 players made it including amateur Biren Dey.
Starting from the 10th hole, Mukesh double-bogeyed the par-three 12th and dropped on the 13th but recovered quickly with four birdies on the next five holes. The second half was steady, with a bogey and birdie each. “I didn’t let the early blunders play on my mind. Having said that, it would have been a great round had I not committed them. I was actually looking for another five-under,” said Mukesh. Jaini wasn't satisfied with his performance but happy with the outcome. "Luckily, the poor shots didn't land on bad places and this helped me recover well and save par," he said.
Kahlon began the day with a bogey on the first. He was let down by his short game and dropped four shots on the front nine. Bogeyes on the 13th and 14th pushed him to five-over. Birdies on the 15th, 16th and 17th and an even-par finish on the par-three 18th salvaged his day. “It was one of those days when nothing went right,” he said. His tee shots were a lot better after the bogey on the 14th and Kahlon followed them up with good approach shots. A lovely chip helped him birdie the 15th and he at last got his putting right to birdie the next two. “At one point I thought I would settle for two-over,” said Kahlon.