Indian golfers SSP Chawrasia and Rashid Khan struck eagles en route steady cards to grab a share of the lead at the midway stage of the Queen’s Cup.
Chawrasia birdied the par-4 ninth hole, was seven-under 135 after a blemish-free second round. He shared the lead with Rashid, home hero Prayad Marksaeng and Filipino Angelo Que, all of whom shot 70 each, and Juvic Pagunsan (69).
The straight-hitting Chawrasia, winner of the second Hero Indian Open in March this year, was in great nick as he produced an eagle and one birdie at Santiburi Samui Country Club.
A top-two finish in the USD 500,000 tournament here can push Chawrasia, a six-time Asian Tour winner, into the top spot on the Merit list, which he has said is one of his goals for the year.
“I’m playing good, it’s good going. I’m happy. The last two weeks, I’ve played well in England and Sweden except for the last round. I’m here and I’m in joint lead,” he said.
“So I’m looking forward to the next two days. If I win it, I can be number one on the Order of Merit. If I can finish as number one, it’ll be my biggest achievement,” he added.
Chawrasia said he needs to work on his putting though.
“I can win the tournament if I putt better. The greens are a bit slower than previous years. My confidence is high and I feel really good.
“I’m slowly getting better and my trend seems to be moving in the right direction. When putting comes in for me, I’ll be on the leaderboard. That’s something that I’m working hard on. I’m certainly on the right track,” he said.
Asked about his signing for a four, when he actually birdied the par-4 ninth, he said, “It’s my own fault. I didn’t check my scorecard. This is the second time it’s happened in my career.”
Meanwhile, Rashid Khan, who has gone back to his ‘baseball’ grip, landed an eagle on 12th with a hole-out from 138 yards with a nine iron. It kept him in the hunt for a third Asian Tour victory despite a cold putter, which he meant he 30 putts.
Rashid said, “What I wanted to do, it went the opposite. I struggled with everything. I had chances to make birdies but missed those four or five footers. I think the eagle on 12 saved my day when I holed my nine iron,” he said.
“But I still didn’t convert anything coming in and bogeyed 17. Some misreads and hit some putts on the wrong line. Other than that, it was decent.”
“Two more days, let’s see. I used to play a 10 finger, baseball grip. At the Indian Open, I changed it to an overlapping grip and that didn’t work out at hole. I struggled for a while. I didn’t play the Thailand Open as I just focused on going back to my old grip and it’s finally paying off. I’ve used the baseball grip since I started playing golf for 15 or 16 years,” he added.