Randhawa in pole position, Dinesh and Gaganjeet in top-10

February 21st, 2008 - 9:48 pm ICT by admin  

Noida, (India), Feb 21 (IANS) Jyoti Randhawa thought his second round was ‘average’, but it was still good enough to fetch him a share of the lead at the halfway stage of the $400,000 SAIL Open golf championship at the Jaypee Greens Thursday. The ‘average’ round was of 68 with four birdies on the back, but it got him into what he jocularly described ‘familiar’ pole position, at least in home conditions. Randhawa has won five of his eight international titles in and around Delhi.

At nine-under 135 after two rounds, Randhawa was tied with Tony Carolan of Australia, who at 38, is still looking for his maiden win on the Asian Tour.

Randhawa and Carolan were one stroke clear of veteran Wang Ter Chang of Chinese Taipei, who shot a 67 with six birdies and one bogey. Four of the birdies came on his second nine, the front section of the course.

One shot further down at six under 136 was a seven-man Cosmopolitan group with players from seven different nationalities. They included India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar (68), Filipino Angelo Que (70), Malaysian Danny Chia (70), Thai Panuwat Muenlek (67), Korean Noh Seung-yul (70), Australian Adam Groom (71) and Kiwi Mark Brown (69).

The cut came at one-over 145 and 74 players made the weekend rounds. Prominent among those missing were Indian Masters winner, India’s S.S.P Chowrasia ((72-74), Thai Thammannoon Srirot ((74-72), Harmeet Kahlon (73-73), Rahil Gangjee (73-74), Amandeep Johl (72-78) and Gaurav Ghei ((72-79).

A total of 21 Indians made the cut out of the 66 who teed off. Apart from Jyoti, Dinesh Kumar (fourth) and Gaganjeet Bhullar (eighth), who were in top-10, Harinder Gupta (70) and Ashok Kumar (69) were tied 15th.

Randhawa admittedly took some time to warm-up. “It was a cold start in the morning. There was frost in the morning and I got warmed really on the back nine,” he said.

“It was a mix of few bad shots and good shots, but I got away with the bad shots. The course is really very open and you can get away.”

Even though he had no small misses, Randhawa said: “There were times when you play well and still come back with a 70. This time, I was not at my best and yet the score was fine,” he said.

But he was happy with the way he is now placed. “I simply want to go out and play to the best I can and rest will follow,” said Randhawa.

Randhawa, who is playing for the sixth week in a row, said: “It is always good to support a tournament at home. We have been having good results and this event can further help Indian golf.”

Randhawa had a birdie on par-5 fifth where he smashed the driver down the fairway and then laid up nicely with a 5-Iron. A pitch saw him come within eight feet from where he holed for the first birdie of the day. He, however, gave that away on the fifth and turned in even par.

On the tenth, where he had eagled on first day, Randhawa again went for the green and was just short. He chipped and putted for a birdie and then added two more on 11th and 12th. Yet another birdie followed on 15th, where he drove and then a 3-Iron shot gave him a chip-putt birdie.

For a brief while, Dinesh Chand moved into lead after his second eagle of the day on the 12th, but then a bogey on 13th, a double on 14th and despite a birdie on 15th, another bogey on 16th saw him drop down to seven-under.

Dinesh Kumar, whose last professional win came way back in 1991 in India, added a 69 to his first 68 and was seven-under. “The open course makes for great birdie chances and I am glad I was able to get them,” he said.

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