On a day when overnight leader Aadil Bedi slipped seven spots with a second round of one-over-73, 21-year-old Chandigarh golfer Karandeep Kochhar kept his cool to card a second round score of 4-under-68 at Chandigarh Golf Club to grab the lead with an overall score of 10-under-134 in the PGTI Players Championship presented by Chandigarh Golf Club (CGC) and being played at CGC and Panchkula Golf Club (PGC). Kochhar, who had carded a round of six-under-66 at PGC on Monday, sank five birdies and a bogey in his second round to take a two-shot lead over second placed Arjun Prasad and Yashas Chandra. It also meant that Kochhar has not played a round in excess of par score in his last six rounds, including last week’s PGTI Players Championship.
“Overall, it was a good round but I believe I could have hit the ball slightly better. My putting went well today. That’s why I could be in the lead after the end of today’s round. Apart from the birdies on the second and third hole, the par saves on the ninth and tenth hole were also very crucial. It was a bit unfortunate to hit a bogey on the 15th hole after two consecutive birdies on the 12th and 13th hole but the birdie on the 16th hole gave me the momentum back. On the last two holes, I could have made birdies but lost out on a very thin margin. I will be looking to play one shot at a time over the next two rounds to make my chance to win my first professional title,” Kochhar said.
Twenty-one-year-old Arjun Prasad, who had finished tied-29th last week, carded the day’s joint lowest card of five-under-67 playing at PGC. After sinking a birdie on the third hole, Prasad recovered well from a bogey on the fifth hole to sink four birdies, including three consecutive birdies, on the back-nine to be placed tied-second with Yashas Chandra. Prasad, who has five top-10 finishes on the PGTI Tour so far in his career, converted a 25-feet birdie chance on the par-4 476-yard-long 18th hole to finish the second round on a high.
“The key for any golfer while playing at Panchkula Golf Course is to make a good start on the first four holes and I guess I managed well today. I missed an easy birdie chance on the first hole but the birdie on the par-4 third hole with a 15-feet putt was a crucial one. The only blemish was the bogey on the fifth hole but I am glad that I could pull things back. It was a bit windy during the back-nine but the three consecutive birdies helped my rhythm. Converting a birdie with a 25-ft putt on the last hole was something, which would motivate me in the next round,” Prasad said.
Twenty-five-year-old Mysore golfer Yashas Chandra climbed four spots on Tuesday with a second consecutive round of four-under-68 of the week. While Chandra played on the CGC on Monday, Tuesday saw him sinking seven birdies apart from a bogey and double-bogey at Panchkula to be tied-second along with Prasad. Chandra, who has six top-ten finishes on the PGTI Tour in his career, will be aiming to improve further in the third round. “I recovered well after the double-bogey on the second hole. The three consecutive birdies on the fifth, sixth and seventh hole respectively meant that I was a bit patient on the back-nine. I was striking the ball well today and would aim to do the same at Chandigarh Golf Club in the next two rounds. I had won junior tournament there and would aim to win a PGTI title this time,” Chandra said.
Last week’s winner Akshay Sharma climbed eight spots on Tuesday to finish the second round at the tied-fourth place along with Veer Ahlawat, Ranjit Singh and Shankar Das. Sharma carded a round of four-under-72 at CGC to be three shots behind leader Kochhar. Another Chandigarh golfer Yuvraj Singh Sandhu (69) climbed four spots on Tuesday to be placed tied-eighth along with Manu Gandas, Sunit Chowrasia and Shamim Khan.
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