Three-way tie on day two of Pune Open Golf Championship
For Bengaluru-based golfer Jaibir Singh, day 2 of the Pune Open Golf Championship turned out to be dramatic as he made it top of the leader board in a three-way tie with N Thangaraja of Sri Lanka and Sanjeev Kumar of Lucknow, despite three bogeys and a double bogey at at Poona Club Golf Course on Wednesday.
Singh’s round featured six birdies and was two-over through his first 13 holes, but turned it around with a birdie chip-in on the sixth followed by two more birdies on the seventh and eighth.
“Everything clicked today. It is the first time that I made it to the cut in the championship as a joint leader. I have been playing professional golf since the past three years and this is my best effort so far,” said Singh.
Sanjeev Kumar, the joint leader, produced the second day’s best score of five-under-66. Sanjeev Kumar (68-66), who was tied at seventh and five off the lead at the start of the day, leapfrogged six spots to joint first, courtesy his hot putter. The 27-year-old Kumar has been a consistent performer on the Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) tour and is still searching for his maiden win.
“I felt good about my game from the very outset. When I hit a terrific tee shot on the first hole, I knew it was going to be one of those days where I would do something special. I came back really well despite the early double bogey on the second,” said Kumar.
“I had changed my putting stance and grip about eight years ago. But with my putting not being at its best since the start of this season, I felt it was now the right time to get back to my old style,” Kumar added.
N Thangaraja (66-68), lying tied fourth and three off the lead after round one, found his way to the top of the leader board on Wednesday thanks to his accurate chipping as three of his five birdies came as a result of brilliant chip shots that led to tap-ins. He mixed five birdies with two bogeys.
Thangaraja said, “My 3-wood shots, chipping and putting were just outstanding. Now that I am in contention, I am looking to score about 17 to 18 under this week to give myself a real chance.”
Shankar Das, who had won the event at the Poona Club Golf Course back in 2011, got himself in a good position with a 67. He trailed the leaders by one point.
Ahmedabad-based Samarth Dwivedi, the first round leader, slipped eight spots to tied
ninth at three-under-139 after a round of 76. Pratik Nirmale (70) was the highest-placed Pune golfer in tied 18th at one-under-141.The five other Pune-based professionals who made the cut were, Pravin Pathare, Sagar Raghuvanshi, Rajiv Datar and Sameer Shaikh (all in tied 35th at two-over-144) as well as Akshay Damale (tied 44th at three-over-145).
Chandigarh’s Harendra Gupta, the winner of the 2016 Pune Open, also closed the day in tied 44th at three-over-145.