Kolkata, Dec 13 (IANS) Delhis Kapil Kumar kept his lead for the second day running with a roller-coaster four-under-68 at the ICC RCGC Open Golf Championship 2019 Powered by Bharat Benz, a TATA Steel PGTI event, being played at the Royal Calcutta Golf Club (RCGC) on Friday.
Kapil, searching for his maiden title, totalled eight-under-136 to be the halfway leader by one shot at the Rs 40 lakh event.
Mumbai’s Anil Bajrang Mane (68) moved up one spot to second at seven-under-137 while Bengaluru’s M Dharma was the big gainer moving up 24 spots to third position at six-under-138 as a result of his tournament-best score of seven-under-65.
A fog delay of 45 minutes in the morning meant that play started at 7.15 a.m. local time instead of the scheduled 6.30 a.m.
The cut was declared at five-over-149. Fifty one professionals made the cut for the weekend.
Kapil Kumar (68-68) had an eventful day in stark contrast to his first round effort as he drained eight birdies in exchange for four bogeys. The 27-year-old was accurate with his irons for the second straight day since he set up as many as five birdie putts from a range of six feet. Kapil, who comes from a golfing family with three of his cousins also competing on the PGTI, made his longest putt of the day, a 14-footer on the 14th.
Kumar’s chipping let him down as he conceded all of his four bogeys as a result of poor chip shots. Nonetheless, Kapil put up a resilient display fighting back with a pair of birdies each time he dropped a shot.
Anil Bajrang Mane (69-68), ranked 64th in the PGTI’s money list and battling to save his card for next season, had reason to rejoice on Friday when he returned a 68 to rise into contention.
Anil, struggling in the second half of the season due to a shoulder injury, played his irons and wedges well to set up three birdie putts within four feet. He also sank two birdies from a range of 18 to 20 feet. Mane’s only bogey of the day came on his closing ninth hole.
M Dharma (73-65) made the big move on Friday with eight birdies and a bogey. A marked improvement in Dharma’s tee shots on day two could be attributed to his decision to choose his two-iron over the driver. The 33-year-old currently in ninth on the PGTI Rankings landed it close through the round except on the seventh where he knocked in a 20-footer for birdie. Dharma also ended the day with a good up and down for a par save on the 18th.
Chandigarh’s Akshay Sharma (70) was in fourth at five-under-139 while Gurugram’s Ankur Chadha (73), the joint overnight leader, slipped to tied fifth at three-under-141.
Mohammad Sanju (71) was the highest-ranked Kolkata player as he joined Ankur Chadha, Sri Lankan Mithun Perera and Noida’s Amardip Malik in tied fifth.
Kolkata’s Sunit Chowrasia (72) was a further shot back in tied ninth at two-under-142.
Delhi-based rookie Kshitij Naveed Kaul, the highest-ranked player in the field being fourth in the PGTI Rankings, occupied tied 12th at one-under-143.
The prominent names that missed the cut were local favourite Shankar Das (six-over-150) of Kolkata and Gurugram-based rookie Priyanshu Singh (nine-over-153).