Jeev Milkha Singh Invitational: Karandeep Kochhar emerges as joint leader with Mithun Parera on Day 2https://indianexpress.com/article/sports/golf/karandeep-kochhar-emerges-as-joint-leader-with-mithun-parera-on-day-2-6077466/

Jeev Milkha Singh Invitational: Karandeep Kochhar emerges as joint leader with Mithun Parera on Day 2

20-year-old Kochhar, who teed off in the morning session and started his round from the front-nine as compared to his first round starting from back-nine, sank five birdies in the second round and his only blemish in the tournament had come in the form of a bogey on Thursday.

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Karandeep Kochhar at Chandigarh Golf Club on Friday. (Photo: Kamleshwar Singh)

On a day when fortunes swung on the leader board with Sri Lankan Mithun Perera leaping into the joint lead later in the day with a round of seven-under-65 and Delhi golfer Rashid Khan matching the course record with a round of eight-under-64, Chandigarh golfer Karandeep Kochhar kept his charge to win the title with a round of five-under-67 to be the joint leader with Perera in the Second Jeev Milkha Singh Invitational presented by Take Solutions played at Chandigarh Golf Course.

20-year-old Kochhar, who teed off in the morning session and started his round from the front-nine as compared to his first round starting from back-nine, sank five birdies in the second round and his only blemish in the tournament had come in the form of a bogey on Thursday.

“I made a slow start today but the par save on the fourth hole helped me getting my rhythm. The early morning start meant that the ball was travelling slower and the course was playing bit longer. So it was important to not drop any shop initially. The club selection was important and once I settled, I was confident of continuing my form. The three successive birdies on the 12th, 13th and 14th hole came from putts less than six feet and good iron play was the key for me today,” shared Kochhar after the round.

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Like Kochhar, Perera too sank three birdies in succession during his round and it was the second time this week that the Sri Lankan golfer achieved the feat. While Perera picked up five birdies on the front-nine, three birdies coupled with a lone bogey on the 15th hole meant that Perera matched Kochhar’s overall total of 12-under-132. “ I had been working on my putting this year and I am happy that it has worked well here. The three birdies on the front-nine today helped my rhythm and I hope to continue this in the last two rounds, “ said Perera, who climbed from tied-fifth spot to joint lead.

Another Chandigarh golfer Ajeetesh Sandhu too remained in contention with a second round score of three-under-69. Sandhu was placed tied-third along with Rashid Khan of Delhi, N Thangaraja of Sri Lanka, Himmat Singh Rai of Delhi and Om Prakash Chauhan of Delhi. “I missed a couple of putts but I am happy with the score today. The flags were bit easy on the front nine today and it helped my game. The early start meant that ball was catching a lot of mud and dew and the key was to keep hitting the fairways. The greens were bit grainy today and it was bit trickier to putt,” said Sandhu.

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Rashid Khan, who has won three titles this year and had won PGTI Championship at Chandigarh in May early this year, matched Sudhir Sharma’s earlier course record of eight-under-64. “I did a lot of mistakes in the first round as my putting was not good. So my focus today was to hit the fairways and rolling the putts well. It’s a tree lined course and shaping the course of the ball will be the key in the next two rounds,” said Khan.

Jeev Milkha Singh missed the cut with a round of 77, which meant that he finished with an overall score of five-under-149.