Lahiri best Indian at 12th in Black Mountain Masters

March 27th, 2009 - 10:14 pm ICT by IANS  

Hua Hin, Thailand, March 27 (IANS) Anirban Lahiri shot a two-under 70 Friday and moved to tied 12th at the halfway stage of the inaugural Black Mountain Masters golf tournament. Lahiri is the best of the four Indians who made the cut for the weekend rounds of the $500,000 Asian Tour event.
Gaganjeet Bhullar, who was second at the SAIL Open last week, and Rahil Gangjee both shot 71, the same as they did on the first day, to be tied 38th at two-under. Himmat Rai added a 71 to his 73 to squeeze inside the cutline at even par and in tied 60th place.

Sweden’s Johan Edfors stayed firmly on track to win the inaugural Black Mountain Masters after the second round but Filipino legend Frankie Minoza was hot on his heels.

Big-hitting Edfors carded a four-under-par 68 for a two-day total of 12-under-par 132 at Black Mountain Golf Club and widened his overnight lead to three strokes.

The Indians missing the cut included Rahul Ganapathy and Karanjit Sandhu (145), C Muniyappa and Amandeep Johl (146), Gaurav Ghei and Vikrant Chopra (148).

Meanwhile, the 49-year-old Minoza, one of Asia’s most decorated golfers with 16 professional titles across Asia and Japan, continued to roll back the years as he fired a 68 for a share of second place on 135 alongside Australian Darren Beck, who shot a 66 thanks to two eagles.

Another Australian, Jason King returned a second straight 68 to lie a further stroke back while talented Thai Chapchai Nirat, fresh from a record 32-under-par victory in India last week, and Korean teenager Noh Seung-yul will enter the weekend rounds five off the pace following a 68 and 71 respectively.

Edfors, a three-time winner in Europe and playing on a sponsor’s invite this week, was disappointed to drop his first shot of the tournament, at his last hole, after five earlier birdies on the card.

“I played pretty solid and took advantage of the par fives, same as yesterday. It was a solid round despite what happened on the last,” said Edfors, who birdied the four par five holes.

Minoza, who plans to attend the Champions (Seniors) Tour Qualifying School in the US later this year, faded on his inward nine, dropping two bogeys in succession at the 15th and 16th holes to spoil a card which included four birdies and an eagle.

“I was hitting it good except for the last few holes. I think I was getting a bit tired,” said Minoza, who won twice in 2007.

Thailand’s Prayad Marksaeng, who needs a top-three finish to safely secure a place in the US Masters next month, left himself with a tall order after a 72 put him in tied 38th place while Jesper Parnevik of Sweden missed the cut after a 77.

The halfway cut was set at 144 with 72 players qualifying for the weekend rounds.

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