September 10, 2021 10:28:30 am
Veer Ahlawat of Gurugram overcame 150 minutes of delay forced by morning rains in the second day of the TATA Steel PGTI Players Championship at Panchkula Golf Club (PGC), producing an extraordinary round of 10-under 62 that took him to the clubhouse lead position by a massive seven shots, finishing the second day with an imposing 15-under 129.
Veer, playing his first competitive event in six months due to the Covid-19 pandemic, was in roaring form with his first two rounds of 67 and 62 and bogey-free in second round. However, the 26 year-old’s score failed to break Mandeo Singh Pathania’s course record of nine-under 63 set in 2009 due to the rule of ‘preferred lie’ in place this week.
Out of a total field of 124, only 59 players completed their second round on Thursday due to the delayed start. The remaining 65 players with unfinished second round, will resume play at 0700 hrs local time on Friday.
Veer, who was overnight tied second, admitted to some early nerves before getting into his groove as he restarted his season at Panchkula.
On Thursday, the six-foot-three tall long-hitter from the DLF Golf & Country Club began with four straight birdies from the fourth to the seventh as he kept landing it within four to eight feet of the flag thanks to his brilliant hitting. Veer continued this trend on the back-nine by picking up six more birdies.
The standout moments were finding the par-5 12th green in two for a two-putt birdie, a tap-in birdie on the 15th and his day’s longest birdie conversion of 14 feet on the 18th.
“I’m proud of my effort as it’s (10-under) my personal best. My previous best was eight-under. I was a little nervous as I’m playing after six months and I didn’t play in Hyderabad last week due to personal reasons,” Veer said. “After the first round, I knew my game was still in good shape. The softer conditions due to rain didn’t really bother me as I anyway hit it quite long. I struck it to perfection today and landed it where I wanted to. I had just one bad drive on the ninth where I managed to save par. I also converted all putts within 10 feet today. I knew hitting it close wouldn’t count if I don’t sink the putts,” he said, adding, “During the Covid-19-forced break, I used to practice putting indoors on my carpet during the lockdown. That kept me in touch with practice.”
Amardeep Malik (71-65) of Noida struck a solid seven-under 65 with eight birdies and a bogey to be placed second in the clubhouse at a total of eight-under 136. Chandigarh’s Ranjit Singh (68-69) was third in the clubhouse at seven-under 137 while Harendra Gupta (71-67), another Chandigarh-based professional, was fourth in the clubhouse at six-under 138.
Overnight leader Yashas Chandra of Mysuru was even-par through nine holes to be at a total of seven-under when play was suspended at 1830 hrs local time on Thursday due to fading light.