PGTI Players Championship: Shamim Khan, Arjun Sharma rise to top in round two

The experienced Shamim Khan of Delhi and Greater Noida’s Arjun Sharma brought in cards of three-under 69 to move into the joint lead at a total of eight-under 136 after round two of the PGTI Players Championship 2022, here on Thursday.

Bengaluru’s Khalin Joshi produced a 68 to be placed second at seven-under 137. M. Dharma, another Bengalurean, was tied fifth at five-under 139 after he matched the course record with a 65. Dharma’s city-mate Akshay Neranjen (70), who is making his pro debut this week, was also tied for fifth.

Gurugram’s Shivendra Singh Sisodia too shot a 65 to equal the course record previously set by Vikrant Chopra and Kapil Kumar in 2014. Sisodia was placed tied seventh at four-under 140 along with the Chandigarh duo of Abhijit Singh Chadha and Harendra Gupta and Bengaluru’s Trishul Chinnappa.

The cut was declared at four-over 148. Sixty professionals made the cut.

Two-time PGTI Order of Merit champion Shamim Khan (67-69) had a slow start on the back-nine with a birdie and a bogey. However, Khan was on a roll after the turn as he drained three consecutive birdies on the fourth, fifth and sixth which included a 15-feet conversion. Thereafter, he made another bogey and birdie to end the day on top of the leaderboard.

“Playing after three months and leading is always good for confidence. Today the wind was less as compared to day one. My back-nine was not great but I made up on the front-nine. This round kept the rhythm going for me,” said Shamim.

The 29-year-old Arjun Sharma (67-69), struggling for form in the first half of the 2022 season, followed up his error-free 67 from round one with yet another super performance to move up one spot from his overnight tied second, like co-leader Shamim.

Arjun had an early bogey on the second but fought back with a four-foot eagle conversion on the third and birdies on the fourth and ninth to make the turn at three-under. Sharma then added two birdies and bogeys each on the back-nine as well as two good pars to keep himself in the hunt.

“I shot five-under in milder conditions in the morning session on day one but my three-under today was better because it was a grind due to the extremely windy conditions in the afternoon session. I tackled the conditions well and hung in there,” said Arjun.

“It was a little frustrating on the back nine as I dropped two bogeys. So the birdie on the last hole was a big confidence-booster,” he added.

After poor starts on day one, both M. Dharma (74-65) and Shivendra Singh Sisodia (75-65) got back in the mix with their record score of 65 on day two.

Dharma went bogey-free after hitting 17 greens in regulation and missing only two fairways on a day that saw him zoom 50 spots up the leaderboard. Sisodia drove it to perfection and made some tremendous recoveries in his round that featured nine birdies and two bogeys. Shivendra gained 62 places on Thursday.

Defending champion K. Prabagaran of Sri Lanka as well as all the four Coimbatore-based golfers, one professional and three amateurs, missed the cut.




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