Indian golfer Jyoti Randhawa looked on course to end his seven year title drought on the Asian Tour as he made another stunning seven-under card to move to a season’s best 15-under for 36 holes at the USD 1 million Resorts World Manila Masters, here on Friday.
Randhawa, who was Asia’s number one in 2002 but last won on Asian Tour in 2009, is bogey free in his two-day total of 15-under-par 129 that saw him enjoy a two-shot advantage over Thailand’s Sutijet Kooratanapisan and Tirawat Kaewsiribandit at the Manila Southwoods Golf and Country Club.
Taking a cue from Randhawa’s amazing run was India’s S S P Chawrasia, who produced one of his best rounds of the year by carding a 64, which had 11 birdies, seven of them on back nine, to secure fourth place while Thailand’s Sattaya Supupramai, who almost broke the course record, settled for a share of fifth place after returning with a 63.
S Chikkarangappa (68-67) and Gaganjeet Bhullar (69-66) were tied 11th at nine-under, while Chiragh Kumar (67-70) was tied 24th and Shiv Kapur (70-67) was tied 33rd. Shubhankar Sharma (69-70) in tied 45th and Jeev Milkha Singh (68-72) were the other Indians to make the cut.
Khalin Joshi and Himmat Rai missed the cut, while Rashid Khan withdrew.
Randhawa, who shot an impressive eight-under in the opening round, started the day tied for the lead with four other players but quickly broke away from the pack with three successive birdies starting from the par-four 11 in his opening back-nine 10.
After turning in 32, the 44-year-old marked his card with three more birdies on holes one, five and eight to set himself up nicely for a shot at clinching his ninth Asian Tour title this week.
“I found the rhythm back in my swing and I just stuck with that and decided to do the same thing today. I was a bit tentative on the first hole but I told myself, let’s do what I did yesterday,” Randhawa said.
“I put my head down and made three great swings, three great putts and played those three holes fabulously well. After that, I knew what I needed to do and just stuck to that game plan,” he said.
Chawrasia after turning in 33, the four-time Asian Tour winner went further ahead with another birdie on 10 only to be pegged back by a double-bogey on 11.
“I got a little annoyed with myself after that double bogey on 11. But my caddie told me to calm down and what’s past is past. I changed my mindset and managed to go on that birdie run,” said Chawrasia.
He showed great recovery by charging back with his birdie blitz starting from the par-four 12.
“It felt really good. It has been a long time since I last made 11 birdies in a round. So I’m really happy. The difference between yesterday and today was the putts. I managed to make lots of putts from 10, 15 feet,” said Chawrasia.
The weekend cut was set at four-under with 66 players progressing into the final two rounds.