Chandigarh golfer Abhijit Singh Chadha shot a second round score of seven-under-65 to be placed on the second spot with an overall score of 11-under-133 in the Classic Golf and Country Club International Championship, a Asian Tour and PGTI co-sanctioned event being played at Classic Golf and Country Club, Gurugram on Friday.
28-year-old Chadha, who fought his way back on to the Asian Tour after a three-year gap with a solid performance at the Asian Tour Qualifying School earlier this year, trailed the halfway leader Rory Hie of Indonesia by one shot. The Indian duo of Rashid Khan (66), yet to drop a stroke in the tournament, and Aman Raj (67), who fired a second successive five-under, were tied-third with total scores of 10-under-134. Two-time Asian Tour winner Khan made a gain of five spots on Friday while Aman moved up two spots. Another Chandigarh golfer Aadil Bedi, the fourth Indian in the top-10, carded a round of four-under-68 in the second round but slipped one position to be placed tied-sixth at nine-under-135.
Chadha (68-65), who has won a title each at the junior, amateur and professional levels at the same course, took advantage of his familiarity with the course to power ahead with an error-free round that featured seven birdies. “I putted really well today and put myself in good positions. I made a lot of putts on the front nine. I have won thrice on this course so I’m very comfortable on every tee shot and on the greens. It feels almost like a home course for me. I’m at ease with myself in pressure situations at this venue,” said Chadha, a 2010 Asian Games silver medallist.
Chadha, a winner of two PGTI titles, made a slow start as his first birdie of the day came on the 18th where fortune favoured him after his drive hit the tree and bounced back on the fairway. The Chandigarh golfer was a different player on the front-nine where he collected six more birdies.
“On the 18th, I hit a wayward drive which hit a tree and came back on the fairway. It was a lucky break and I capitalized on that. The birdie on the 18th kind of gave me a boost and after that I pulled off a lot of good shots. I am really happy to be in this position. I’m confident and playing well and will now look to go as low as possible over the next two rounds. I missed a few events on the Asian Tour in the first half of the year due to a shoulder injury. So now I’m all the more determined to make this good start count,” said Chadha.
Raj (67-67), who won his only professional title last year, mixed seven birdies with two bogeys in the second round to strengthen his position on the leader-board. Raj made a couple of fabulous recoveries from the rough to salvage birdies on the sixth and 14th. He drained a 35-footer on the sixth.
“I feel I judged the conditions well today. Having teed off in the morning, I knew there would be dew and the course would play longer than it did when I teed off in the afternoon yesterday. I therefore played one club longer on most shots,” said Raj.
Khan (68-66) produced a second straight bogey-free effort despite scrambling for a major part of the day on Friday. Rashid played some incredible shots to recover twice from the rough and once from the bunker slope to pick up birdies from a range of five feet on the first, third and seventh. Delhi-based Khan, who was four-under through seven holes, then gave himself a lot of chances on the back-nine but could add only two more birdies to his card on the 12th and 18th.