MUMBAI , December 3, 2015: Chandigarh’s Abhijit Singh Chadha and Greater Noida’s Mandeo Singh Pathania shared the halfway lead at the Rs. 1 crore CG Open 2015 with identical totals of seven-under-133. While Chadha shot the day’s joint best of five-under-65 in round two, Pathania produced a two-under-68 on a high-scoring day at the Bombay Presidency Golf Club (BPGC).
Six golfers including Sri Lankan N Thangaraja, Noida’s Gaurav Pratap Singh, Lucknow’s Sanjeev Kumar, Chandigarh’s Sujjan Singh, Delhi’s Vinod Kumar and Gurgaon-based Digvijay Singh were bunched together in tied third at six-under-134.
The cut was declared at two-over-142. Fifty-one professionals made the cut.
Abhijit Singh Chadha (68-65), the highest-ranked player in the field, took a giant leap from overnight tied 14th place to joint first as a result of his error-free 65. Chadha had a solid front-nine making all greens in regulation and two-putts thereafter for pars all through. Twenty-four-year-old Abhijit, a winner on the PGTI this year, then turned on the heat with three consecutive birdies from the 10th to the 12th. He drained 10-feet putts on the 10th and 11th before converting a 20-footer on the 12th.
Chadha recovered well for good par saves on the 15th and 17th after being in a spot of trouble on both holes. He finally closed with a flourish thanks to an eagle on the par-5 18th where he landed his approach within six feet of the pin. The lanky Abhijit is currently placed second in the Rolex Ranking with one title under his belt along with three other top-10s.
Chadha said, “I was steady through the front-nine today even though the putts burnt the edges and didn’t roll in. From there on I knew that I needed a hot back-nine to stay in the tournament. I was quite relieved when my first birdie putt found the hole on the 10th. I then enjoyed a good stretch till the 12th grabbing my opportunities on the greens.
“It was quite satisfying to make some great recoveries for pars on the 15th and 17th. My ball was plugged in the bunker on the 15th but I came back well with a 25-feet conversion there. I then chipped out of the woods and followed that up with a 10-feet par conversion on the 17th.
“This course suits my game since I hit it long. I’ve always enjoyed playing here. In fact, I had a top-10 at BPGC at last year’s CG Open. I’d like to carry this form into the last two days.”
Mandeo Singh Pathania (65-68), who was overnight tied second, made birdies on all the four par-5s courtesy his brilliant hitting. The 32-year-old with rippling muscles narrowly missed a hole-in-one for the second straight day when his tee shot landed a few inches from the flag on the sixth. Mandeo, the 2010 CG Open champion, mixed his five birdies with three bogeys as his putting was the weaker link yet again.
Pathania spent the summer months this year playing on the Canadian tour where he won an event and finished third on one occasion.
“I’ve been striking it to perfection, having picked up birdies on seven out of eight par-4s on the first two days. I’ll stand a good chance over the next two days if I can get my putting going as well. I was unfortunate to miss a hole-in-one for the second consecutive day. The stint in Canada during the summer has helped me a great deal. The exposure to some of the best courses and the competition there has boosted my confidence,” said Mandeo, who plays at the Jaypee Greens Golf Resort in Greater Noida.
N Thangaraja, Gaurav Pratap Singh, Sanjeev Kumar, Sujjan Singh, Vinod Kumar and Digvijay Singh were joint sixth, one shot off the lead.
Bengaluru’s Udayan Mane, the overnight leader, slipped to tied ninth at five-under-135 after his second round of 71. Abhinav Lohan of Faridabad, who was overnight tied second, shared ninth place with Mane as a result of his 70 in round two.
The Mumbai duo of Anil Bajrang Mane (five-over-145) and Wilson Raj D’Mello (10-over-150) missed the cut.
The five amateur golfers from Mumbai also missed the cut. This list included Aditya Sachdev (14-over-154), Virajeet Sandhu (17-over-157), Shaurya Shah (17-over-157), Ahaan Nath (19-over-159) and Anish Bhujle (21-over-161).