Rahil Gangjee made a good upward move with a tidy one-under 69 that took from overnight T-34th place to T-19 at the midway stage of the Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup on Wednesday in Osaka, Japan.
Gangjee, who is 15th on the Order of Merit is seeking to get into Top-10 over the next few weeks to qualify for the lucrative CIMB Classic, sanctioned by PGA and Asian Tours.
The only other Indian of the seven who started this week, was Himmat Rai who added a 71 to his first round 70 and was Tied-39th.
Jeev Milkha Singh, who was Tied-34th alongside Gangjee and Himmat at the end of first round, fell by the wayside as he ended with a 75 in second round and exited from the event. Also missing the cut were Chiragh Kumar (74-73), Gaganjete Bhullar (77-70), Arjun Atwal (72-77) and Jyoti Randhawa (75-75).
Gangjee had three birdies on 11th, 15th and 18th, while he dropped bogeys on 13th and seventh. Thai teenager Phachara Khongwatmai underlined his rising star credentials when he signed for a three-under-par 67 to lead the field by one shot at the halfway stage.
The 17-year-old Thai, who enjoyed his Major debut at The Open earlier in July, fired five birdies against a double-bogey to take his place atop the leaderboard on seven-under-par 133 total at the Ibaraki Country Club’s West course.
Local prospect Ippei Koike returned with a 67 to share second place with compatriots Rikuya Hoshino and Shugo Imahira, who posted rounds of 66 and 69 respectively, at the ¥150 million (approximately USD 1.3 million) event sanctioned by the Asian Tour and the Japan Golf Tour.
Thailand’s Thitiphun Chuayprakong carded a 69 to take fifth place on 135 alongside local duo Michio Matsumura (63) and Ryuko Tokimatsu (66) while overnight leader Satoshi Kodaira posted a 72 to sit a further shot back in tied-eighth place.
Starting the round with a two-shot deficit, Phachara reeled in four straight pars from 10 before stumbling with a double-bogey on 14.
The talented young man, however, recovered strongly with five birdies in the next six holes to put himself in the lead for the very first time on the region’s premier Tour.