Shubhankar Sharma and Ajeetesh Sandhu were the best-placed Indians at tied 22 after the second round of the HONMA Hong Kong Open here on Friday. Sharma (68) and Sandhu (70) were both three-under 137 after 36 holes. Arjun Atwal (72) and Khalin Joshi (71) were Tied-30th and Tied-44th, while Shiv Kapur (67) and Viraj Madappa (68) were the only other Indians to make the cut.
Kapur was Tied-55th and Madappa made the cut on the line at Tied-65th. Sharma should seal his Asian Tour’s Habitat for Humanity Order of Merit this week. He already leads by more than USD 134,000 and a solid week here could put it beyond all others.
Second-placed Park Sunghyun was disqualified on Friday and that virtually finished the race. Third-placed Matt Wallace and fourth-placed Gaganjeet Bhullar are not playing in Hong Kong this week. Events left include Queen’s Cup, Mauritius Open and Indonesia Masters.
Missing the cut in Hong Kong were Jeev Milkha Singh, SSP Chawrasia, Rashid Khan, Chiragh Kumar and S Chikkarangappa while Jyoti Randhawa pulled out. England’s Aaron Rai stole the limelight by breaking the course record with a stunning nine-under-par 61 to strengthen his position atop the leaderboard.
Rai leads by four shot over Korea’s Hyowon Park with his two-day total of 14-under-par 126 while Matthew Fitzpatrick of England made his move with a 62 to take third place on his own at the Hong Kong Golf Club.
Despite struggling with his putting, Korea-American Micah Lauren Shin, who finished tied-seventh at the Hong Kong Open last year, renewed his affinity with event by signing for a 67 to take outright fourth place. 2014 Hong Kong Open champion Scott Hend is determined to give Rai a run for his money after the Australian signed for a 66 which placed him in a share of fifth place.