Maintaining his composure for the second consecutive day, 30-year-old Chandigarh golfer Akshay Sharma once again produced a flawless second round score of six-under-66 at Chandigarh Golf Club to extend his lead to three shots after the conclusion of the second round of the PGTI Players Championship presented by Panchkula Golf Club on Wednesday.
Sharma, who sank eight birdies on the opening day at Panchkula Golf Course, sank six birdies on Thursday to extend his lead to three shots over Bengaluru golfer S Chikkarangappa and fellow Chandigarh golfer Karandeep Kochhar. Kochhar matched the day’s best round of the tournament with a round of seven-under-65 playing at Panchkula Golf Club, while Chikkarangappa carded a round of five-under-67 at CGC to share the second spot with Kochhar.
“I wanted to take advantage of playing on my home golf course in the second round and the two birdies with seven pars on the front-nine gave me confidence for the back-nine which is a bit easy on this course. The 20-feet birdie conversion on the 11th hole helped me gain momentum and a tough 10-feet putt on the 15th hole set up my back-nine for a good finish. The next two rounds will be played at Panchkula Golf Club, where I missed the course record by one shot on Wednesday and I will aim to show the same form ahead,” shared Sharma, who is being accompanied by his caddie Montu in this tournament, and now has an overall total of 14-under-130.
The 21-year-old Karandeep Kochhar, who had carded a round of four-under-68 on the opening day and was placed fourth, improved further while playing at Panchula Golf Club and matched the day’s lowest card on any of the two golf courses with a round of seven-under-65 to climb two spots to share the second spot with Chikkarangappa. Kochhar sank six birdies on the front-nine at the 7,179-yard long Panchkula Golf Course before he sank three more birdies on the back-nine. A bogey each on the 447-long 14th hole and 476-yard long 18th hole meant that Kochhar missed matching the course record, had he managed pars on those holes. “I guess I could have done better. I hit the ball really well and the main challenge in Panchkula is the wind and sometimes the par 3s at the course can be tough. Playing three rounds consecutively at Panchkula will help me and my aim will be to be in the lead,” shared Kochhar, who hit 14 greens in regulation.
Chikkarangappa, who had shot a first round score of six-under-72 at Panchkula Golf Club to be placed solo second, started well at the Chandigarh Golf Course and sank three birdies out of the first six holes. A double bogey on the par-5 13th hole did pull Chikkarangappa back but the Bengaluru golfer sank three consecutive birdies on the last three holes to end the day with six birdies and a bogey, to remain in contention for the title.
Another Chandigarh youngster Aadil Bedi shot a round of three-under-72 to be placed tied fourth with Aman Raj of Patna, who too shot a round of three-under-69.
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