Grant Thornton Invitational: Kartik Sharma leads with a two-shot cushion after round two

Local lad Kartik Sharma enjoyed a two-shot cushion at the halfway stage following his second round of five-under 67 at the Kapil Dev – Grant Thornton Invitational golf tournament here on Wednesday.

Gurugram-based Kartik, playing on his home turf at the DLF Golf & Country Club, totaled six-under 138 after round two.

Manu Gandas, who also hails from the DLF Golf and Country Club, posted a 66 to be placed tied second at four-under 140 along with Delhi’s Sachin Baisoya (68).

Dhruv Sheoran, the round one leader, slipped to tied fourth place at three-under 141 after a 73 in round two. Sheoran shared fourth place with Bengaluru’s Syed Saqib Ahmed (67) and Gurugram’s Himmat Rai (70), another professional from the DLF Golf & Country Club.

Kolkata-based rookie Arjun Puri matched the course record with an immaculate eight-under 64 to end the day in tied 43rd place at six-over 150. Puri equaled Shubhankar Sharma’s course record which the latter set during the 2018 Indian Open.

Earlier in the day, round one which was suspended on Tuesday due to fading light, was finally completed with Dhruv Sheoran emerging as leader by two shots at 68.

The cut was declared at seven-over 151. Fifty-six professionals made the cut.

The 22-year-old southpaw Kartik Sharma (71-67) jumped up six spots from his overnight tied seventh to take the lead as a result of his six birdies and a bogey. Kartik, who has six top-10s in the season so far to be placed 14th on the Order of Merit, continued his good form on Wednesday as his round featured three long birdie conversions on the back-nine and a chip-in on the second.

Kartik said, “Today everything was on point for me and that’s exactly what you need at this course. On day one, on some of the wedge shots on the back-nine, my yardages were a little off. In round two, I was mindful of the numbers I was hitting into the greens since you have to position yourself well off the green. I feel that was the big difference between my first and second rounds.

“Playing alongside the amateurs in rounds three and four, it will be a fun environment and a little more relaxing as there will be some more chit chat. But the strategy will be the same for me.”

Among the prominent names, Yuvraj Singh Sandhu (72-73) was tied 16th at one-over 145, Gaganjeet Bhullar (75-72) was tied 23rd at three-over 147 and Jyoti Randhawa (77-74) was tied 47th at seven-over 151.

After a disappointing 86 in round one, Arjun Puri’s course record 64 lifted him from tied 119th to tied 43rd and as a result helped him make the cut.

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