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Mukesh Kumar soars to lead in Kolkata Classic; SSP Chawrasia up to tied fourth

With five birdies and one bogey that moved him up from third on Day 1, Mukesh Kumar, 51, is halfway into rewriting his record as the oldest winner on the tour

other sports Updated: Mar 22, 2017 20:59 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
Mukesh Kumar,SSP Chawrasia,Kolkata Classic golf
Mukesh Kumar, 51, became the oldest player to win an Asian Tour title with his triumph at the Panasonic Open tournament last year.(HT Photo)

Mukesh Kumar took pole position with a seven-under 137 after the second day of the Kolkata Classic Golf Championship, at the Royal Calcutta Golf Club here on Wednesday. With the day’s only bogey-free round, Shamim Khan is second, one stroke behind the leader, and S Chikkarangappa, one of the two overnight leaders, third on five-under 139.

Within touching distance are SSP Chawrasia, Sri Lanka’s N Thangaraja and Sujjan Singh, all three tied fourth at three-under 141, meaning that the stage is nicely set going into the business end of this Rs 40 lakh tournament where top guns Rashid Khan and Ajeetesh Sandhu, both tied 31st at three-over 147, and Abhijit Chadha (4-over 148) haven’t fired.

Gaurav Ghei and Viraj Madappa missed the cut that was applied at five-over. This was the first time that happened for city-boy Madappa, 19 in his rookie year on the PGTI Tour.

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Delhi’s Chiragh Kumar, who shared the lead with ‘Chikka’, slipped to tied 14th with a four-over on Wednesday that took his aggregate to par-144.

With five birdies and one bogey that moved him up from third on Day 1, Kumar, 51, is halfway into rewriting his record as the oldest winner on the tour.

“I am keen on continuing till 2020. My wish is to get my son Parvesh established on the circuit before I quit. He is now reading in the 12th standard and an amateur,” said Kumar, while sharing a drink with friend Feroz Ali Mollah.

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Mollah is 47 and carded a two-under with an untested set of clubs he had got on Tuesday night to go into the third day tied 23rd at two-over 146. Mollah and Kumar turned professional in 1984.

A daily training schedule of five-and-half hours beginning at 7:30am is the key to Kumar staying relevant in his 33rd year as a professional. “I train on the Army War College course and the guys there motivate me to stay in shape. Here, I am happy with my putting. If I putt like this, winning becomes easy,” said Kumar.

Having logged 28 putts on way to a two-under round with six birdies, Chawrasia too said he was happy with his putting. What he isn’t so happy about is carelessness that led to four bogeys. “Otherwise, the going’s been good and if I keep playing like this, a good week is a matter of time,” said the reigning Indian Open champion.

Leaderboard, Day 2: 1. Mukesh Kumar 137 (69, 68); 2. Shamim Khan 138 (70, 68). 3. S Chikkarangappa 139 (68, 71). T4: N Thagaraja 141 (70, 71); Sujjan Singh 141 (70, 71); SSP Chawrasia 141 (71, 70). T7: Gaurav Singh 142 (70, 72); Mithun Perera 142 (70, 72); Feroz Singh Garewal 142 (69, 73).

First Published: Mar 22, 2017 20:59 IST