Verma takes seven-shot lead in NCR Cup golf

December 10th, 2008 - 8:45 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 10 (IANS) Gagan Verma continued his dominance at the Gannon Dunkerley NCR Cup and Delhi State Championships with a tidy two-under 70 to stay on top of the leaderboard here Wednesday.Verma opened up a seven-shot lead at the halfway stage while defending champion Rashid Khan bounced back after a disastrous first round with a similar two-under 70 at the Delhi Golf Club.

Verma is two-under 142 for two rounds and a whopping seven shot clear of the next placed, Karan Vasudeva ((72) at five-over 149.

Four players, including Khan are at six-over 150. Rashid had a disastrous first round of 80. Tied with Khan at third are Samrat Basu (72), Keshav Kapoor (72) and Arshad Ali (72), all of whom are 150.

The scores were much better on the second day, Vasudeva ranked 12 on the Amateur Order of Merit.

The top two finishers get a chance to play in the Swiss Amateurs next year.

Khan, who struggled on the greens on the first day, was almost flawless in the second. His lone blemish was on the 16th where he dropped a shot. He had three birdies on the eighth, 14th and 17th holes.

Verma sank four birdies with two each on either side of the turn. He birdied the third and ninth on the front stretch and then the tenth and 18th on the home journey. His two bogeys came on the seventh and the 12th holes.

“I was extremely disappointed after my round yesterday. I knew I had to play the next three rounds well to remain in contention and therefore decided to stick to the basics. I also had a short session with my coach Nonita Lall to improve my game today. I guess it worked in my favour,” said Khan.

Gagan on the other hand was glad to finish below par.

“Its always great to finish under par. I had a better round today but struggled with my putting. I need to get better with my putts over the next two days to capitalize on my start” he said.

The midway cut for top 36 was at 22-over par 166. A total of 39 players made the cut.

The other highlight of the event was the Ballantines Long Drive Challenge on the second day, which was won by Dipankar Kaushal with a drive of 284 yards.

Kaushal hit the headlines recently as he caddied for China’s Liang Wen-chong, who won the Indian Open title and shot a record 12-under 60 in the first round at the same course.

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