Chandigarh’s Harendra Gupta came up with a remarkable nine-under-63, his second straight bogey-free round, to make his way to the top of the leaderboard at 17-under-127 at the end of day two of the Tata Steel Tour Championship being played at the Beldih and Golmuri golf courses in Jamshedpur.
Kolkata-based Indian star SSP Chawrasia, a three-time winner in Jamshedpur, fired the best round of the tournament so far, an astonishing 11-under-61, to move into second place at 16-under-128 at the Rs. 1.5 crore PGTI event.
Noida’s Amardeep Malik, also error-free for the tournament so far, produced a 66 to be placed third at 15-under-129 at the halfway stage. Chikkarangappa, the round one leader, slipped to fourth place at 14-under-130 after a round of 68 on Friday.
Gaganjeet Bhullar, one of the star attractions this week, shot a 63 to move up to tied fifth at 12-under-132 along with Chandigarh’s Yuvraj Singh Sandhu (67) and Delhi’s Arjun Prasad (68).
The halfway cut went at two-under-142 and 53 professionals made it to the money rounds.
After one half of the field played their 18 holes at Beldih Golf Club while the other half played at Golmuri Golf Club in round one, both halves of the field switched venues in round two. In the third and fourth rounds, all players will now play their first nine holes at Golmuri and second nine holes at Beldih.
Harendra Gupta (64-63) recorded the joint best score at Golmuri in round two. Gupta, who played through pain and was limping during his first round due to a groin injury suffered on the ninth tee, was in a much better physical condition on day two.
The 36-year-old Harendra, a five-time winner on the PGTI, reaped the rewards of some accurate hitting with early birdies on the second, third and fourth, finding the edge of the green with his drive on the fourth.
However, it was the back-nine where Gupta really turned it on as he picked up an eagle on the 12th and four more birdies. One of the highlights of his round was the birdie on the 15th where he made an excellent recovery from the trees with a brilliant seven-iron second shot that landed 12 feet from the pin.
Gupta said, “Beldih is the tougher course to score on so I feel I had an advantage having started with an eight-under at Beldih in round one. In fact, I feel my injury was a blessing in disguise as it helped me focus better in round one.
“I tended to my injury with some warm compress last evening so there was no pain today and I felt much better on the course. I’ve not struck such low numbers in a long time so I’m quite pleased with my effort so far. I began the day by missing a four feet putt for eagle on the second but thereafter everything went perfectly for me. I struck my four-iron and five-iron really well and did not leave myself many long putts.
“Tee shots will be the key going forward and one will also need to adapt well to the different challenges posed by the two courses. While Beldih has smaller greens it also has wider fairways as compared to Golmuri,” added Harendra whose last top-10 came a year and a half back.