Indians big bid for top honours in Panasonic golf

April 7th, 2011 - 9:43 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, April 7 (IANS) Indians made a strong bid for top honours at the $300,000 Panasonic Open being played at the Delhi Golf Club here, with four featuring in the top seven after Thursday’s round two.

While veteran Mardan Mamat of Singapore grabbed the lead at 12-under 132 thanks to a second round 65, Anirban Lahiri was four strokes off the pace at tied second along with American Ben Fox. The other Indians in the top seven are Himmat Singh Rai (fourth), Manav Jaini (fifth) and Jyoti Randhawa (tied sixth).

Twenty-nine Indians made the halfway cut that was declared at three-over 147.

Lahiri (65-71), the overnight leader, ended the day in joint second at eight-under 136 after producing three birdies against two bogeys. The Bangalore golfer made a slow start from the 10th as he tried to negotiate the windy conditions in the afternoon. His hitting was wayward to begin with but got better towards the latter half of his round. He landed his approach shot within a few inches for a crucial birdie on the third.

“The wind was howling from all over the place and the same holes where people were making birdies in the morning weren’t so easy in the afternoon. The par-fives on the back-nine were playing about 50 to 60 yards longer. I’m happy that I managed an under-par score on a tough day like this,” said Lahiri.

“I have to focus on the greens and if I can hole more putts tomorrow, I can put some pressure on Mardan,” he added.

Rai’s (70-67) bogey-free 67 placed him a stroke behind Lahiri in fourth position. Delhi-based Rai, an Asian Tour regular, earned the reward for keeping the ball in play all day.

“My hitting was pretty consistent. I kept the ball in play and hit most of the greens. I grabbed more scoring opportunities today. Most of the pins were tucked away and not very accessible but a few were relatively easier and one had to take advantage of those. I putted well, especially on the 16th, where I holed for a birdie from 25 feet,” Rai said.

Manav Jaini (71-67) of the Delhi Golf Club is currently placed fifth at six-under 138 thanks to a fabulous start on day two that saw him fire four successive birdies from the 10th through the 13th.

Indian star Jyoti Randhawa (73-66) lies tied sixth at five-under 139 while compatriot Mohd Islam is a further stroke back at tied eighth.

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