S.S.P. Chawrasia stayed bogey-free at the Hero Indian Open after shooting a four-under-par 67 to grab a one-shot lead at the halfway stage of the US$1.5 million Hero Indian Open on Friday.
The popular Indian, bidding to win his National Open for the first time, posted a 10-under-par 132 total while title holder Siddikur Rahman of Bangladesh battled to a 68 to stay in contention at the Delhi Golf Club (DGC).
Thailand’s Chapchai Nirat and Joakim Lagergren, both joint overnight leaders with Chawrasia and Siddikur, posted identical 71s to share third place at the event sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour.
Home favourite Anirban Lahiri recovered from an opening 73 by producing another trademark battling performance when he equalled the week’s low round of 65 courtesy of two chip-in birdies. He tied for sixth with Prayad Marksaeng of Thailand, who aced the par-three fifth hole.
Chawrasia, who won two of his three Asian Tour titles at DGC, enjoyed a personal milestone by staying flawless after 36 holes to stay on track to win the Hero Indian Open, an event where he finished second in 1999, 2006 and 2013.
“I’m playing very well in the last two days. I’ve played here many times so I know how to play on this course. This is my first time I’m bogey free after 36 holes at DGC,” said the 36-year-old, who made 50 putts in two days.
He predicts an exciting weekend against Siddikur, who defeated him by one-shot two years ago. “It will be nice to play with Siddikur. I think it will be between us and a few other players. I feel good and aggressive for the weekend.”
Siddikur, a two-time Asian Tour winner, gave himself a lifeline in his title defence when he birdied his closing two holes after making a disappointing double bogey on the fourth hole.
“I was a little bit disappointed with my double bogey because I had a good number of birdies. It shows that anything can happen on this golf course. I want to keep the same rhythm in in the next two rounds. You will definitely have some pressure but I always try my best to avoid it,” said the Bangladeshi, who injured his back last year.
Chapchai, the world 72-hole scoring record holder, was caught off guard by the early windy conditions as he returned with two birdies against as many bogeys.
“I struggled in the morning because of the fog and it was slightly windy. I want to keep my ball on the fairways because if you miss it left or right, you will drop one or more shots. I still have a chance to go low during the weekend,” said Chapchai, a four-time Asian Tour winner.
An in-form Lahiri, who won the Maybank Malaysian Open two weeks ago, overcame a stiff back and sore shoulder to charge up the leaderboard at the Delhi course where he won three Asian Tour titles.
“Now I’m in with a sniff. I managed to get some rhythm on the greens and made some good putts. I’m happy that I fought back hard after yesterday’s disappointment. I’ve been fighting a very stiff back and sore shoulder. I’m going to continue to fight,” said Lahiri.
The halfway cut was set at two-over-par 144 with a total of 69 players including Miguel Angel Jimenez making the weekend rounds. The Spaniard shot a 71 to lie in tied 18th place.
Scores after round 2 of the Hero Indian Open 2015 being played at the par 71, 6923 Yards Delhi Golf Club course (am – denotes amateur):
132 – S.S.P. CHAWRASIA (IND) 65-67.
133 – Siddikur RAHMAN (BAN) 65-68.
136 – Chapchai NIRAT (THA) 65-71, Joakim LAGERGREN (SWE) 65-71.
137 – Paul PETERSON (USA) 69-68, Richard MCEVOY (ENG) 70-67.
138 – Prayad MARKSAENG (THA) 68-70, Anirban LAHIRI (IND) 73-65.
139 – Marcus FRASER (AUS) 69-70, Peter LAWRIE (IRL) 69-70, Jake ROOS (RSA) 70-69, Mithun PERERA (SRI) 67-72.
140 – Mikko KORHONEN (FIN) 68-72, Carlos DEL MORAL (ESP) 69-71, Arjun ATWAL (IND) 70-70, Richard T. LEE (CAN) 65-75, Adrian OTAEGUI (ESP) 70-70.
141 – Miguel Angel JIMENEZ (ESP) 70-71, Jason PALMER (ENG) 70-71, Kalem RICHARDSON (AUS) 67-74, Adilson DA SILVA (BRA) 71-70, John HAHN (USA) 70-71, Mark TULLO (CHI) 72-69, Shubhankar SHARMA (IND) 69-72.