Liang stays top, Chopra sole second; three Indians tied sixth

October 10th, 2008 - 9:48 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 10 (IANS) Chinese star Liang Wen-chong, threatening to pull away from the rest of the field at the halfway stage of the million-dollar Hero Honda Indian Open, was pulled back by the treacherous bushes at the Delhi Golf Club Friday. After four birdies on the front nine, which placed him at 16-under, he had four bogeys on the back nine, but Liang holed a final birdie on the18th to stay in red numbers at one-under 71 for 13-under 131 overall. Liang was five shots ahead of Daniel Chopra, who himself overcame a double bogey for a 70 that put him at eight-under 136.

Australia’s Adam Blyth and India’s Ashok Kumar posted matching 67s to lie in joint third spot alongside Chinese Taipei’s Lu Wen-teh who carded a 71 for a 137 total in the US$1 million Asian Tour event.

Dutchman Guido Van Der Valk blasted a superb 61 to rise up to a tie for sixth place alongside Fililipino Mars Pucay and New Zealand’s Mark Brown who recorded matching 67s, Unho Park of Australia who shot a 71, Englishman Chris Rodgers in with a 66 and local player Sanjay Kumar who was even par for the day. They were joined by Ashok Kumar (67) of India among others later in the afternoon.

Liang, the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit winner last year, kept his-five stroke cushion in the second round after six birdies against five bogeys.

Liang said, “I feel good about my game. I had a good start on the front nine with four birdies, but lost my concentration on the back nine. After my bogey on the 10th hole, I wanted to bounce back and continue to push hard. But my putting was not very good and I didn’t feel good off the tee.

“There are still two more days to go so I have to keep it steady. I will head out and practice my short game and putting. This course is not easy and I can easily land myself in trouble. There are a lot of good players here like Jeev (Milkha Singh) and Daniel (Chopra) who can catch up so I hope to do my best over the weekend.”

Starting on the back nine, Chopra nailed four birdies after nine holes before closing with a double bogey on the eighth.

“I had a flawless front nine, but on the back nine I made one bad tee shot on the eighth and paid a big price with a double bogey. Frankly, I played much better than what the score suggests,” said twice winner on PGA Tour, Chopra.

“It is generally an intimidating golf course and I never thought I would be here to play in a tournament where someone scores a 60. Then I see an 11-under on day two from a Dutch pro, Guido. Its awesome,” added Chopra.

Jeev Milkha Singh, the highest ranked player in the world in this field at 58th, slipped to a tie for 17th place after a 74 while defending champion Jyoti Randhawa shot a 69 and was in joint 48th place.

I had a great start with two birdies but then I lost some confidence in my putting. I missed a short four-putt on the fourth and then the putting was not the same. I kept hanging in there,” said Jeev.

In the morning Chopra nailed a two-under-par 70 to set the pace in the early stages of the second round. Chopra chalked up four birdies against a double bogey at the Delhi Golf Club for an eight-under-par 136 total and a one stroke lead over Australia’s Adam Blyth who recorded a 67.

Blyth, who competed in the British Open this year, was pleased to find his rhythm this week posting a 67.

Jyoti Randhawa made the cut with a three-under 69 and he was at one-under 143.

Local amateurs H.S Kang, Moin Malak and Manav Das were among the 81 players who made the weekend rounds.

Past champions missing the cut included Vijay Kumar (2002) and Feroze Ali (1998).

Ali Sher, the 1991 and 1993 champion shot a 70 to be at two-under 142 alongside Mike Cunning, the 2003 winner.

Leading second round scores:

131 - Liang Wen-chong (Chn) 60-71
136 - Daniel Chopra (Swe) 66-70
137 - Adam Blyth (Aus) 70-67, Ashok Kumar (Ind) 70-67, Lu Wen-teh (Tpe) 66-71
138 - Sanjay Kumar (Ind) 66-72, Mars Pucay (Phi) 71-67, Unho Park (Aus) 67-71, Mark Brown (Nzl) 71-67, Chris Rodgers (Eng) 72-66, Guido Van Der Valk (Ned) 77-61, Muhammad Munir (PAK) 69-69, Gaurav Ghei (IND) 69-69, Chinnarat Phadungsil (Tha) 72-66, Steven Tiley (Eng) 72-66, Harinder Gupta (Ind) 70-68
139 - Chang Tse-peng (Tpe) 68-71, Mahal Pearce (Nzl) 71-68, Lam Chih Bing (Sin) 69-70, Jeev Milkha Singh (Ind) 65-74
140 - Darren Beck (Aus) 70-70, Atthaphon Prathummanee (Tha) 67-73, Jaiveer Virk (Ind) 71-69, Gavin Flint (Aus) 69-71

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