Oct 5, 2017: Noida’s Amardip Sinh Malik fired a second straight six-under-66 to storm into the joint halfway lead along with Bengaluru’s M Dharma on day two of the ONGC Masters 2017. Malik and Dharma (69) were three ahead of the rest at 12-under-132 after the completion of round two at the Noida Golf Course.
Delhi’s Kapil Kumar (67) and Bengaluru’s R Murthy (70) were tied for third at nine-under-135.
The cut went at two-over-146 with 51 professionals making it to the money rounds.
Amardip Sinh Malik (66-66), lying overnight tied fourth, three off the lead, hit his straps after an early bogey on the 11th. Malik picked up four birdies on the back-nine which included a brilliant recovery from the hazard on the 14th where he finally rolled it in from 20 feet.
Amardip sank three more birdies on the front-nine, including one from 25 feet on the fifth, to raise his title hopes. He also made a crucial par-save from 15 feet on the third.
Malik, who won his only title, three years back at the Noida Golf Course, said, “I played really well after the early bogey. My round really picked up after I managed to salvage a birdie on the 14th despite finding the hazard. All aspects of my game have been quite solid on the first two days.
“At the start of the week I would’ve thought 12-under could be close to being the winning score, so to get there in two days is just fantastic. I just hope to keep the momentum going from here on.
“I’ve had a string of good performances after a while. So I’m happy with the consistency in my game. This is something I worked on during the summer – trying to put myself in contention as many times as possible. I’ve been able to do that with a runner-up finish and a couple of other top-10s.”
M Dharma (63-69), the sole leader by one shot after the first day, mixed five birdies with two bogeys on Thursday during his round of 69. His round featured two birdie conversions from 12 to 15 feet, as well as two top-class chip-putt birdies.
Dharma, fresh from top-10s in the last two PGTI events, has now positioned himself for another top finish this week.
Dharma said, “I’m quite satisfied with my three-under. It gives me a good launch-pad for the last two rounds. I played the par-5s really well today. However, I didn’t hit my wedges close enough. The three-putt for bogey on the last hole was quite disappointing. I now need to finish well this week.”
Kapil Kumar’s 67 featured six birdies and a bogey and lifted him from overnight tied seventh to tied third. R Murthy shot a 70 to stay in contention. He too occupied tied third.
Noida golfers Vikrant Chopra and Dipankar Kaushal were tied ninth at five-under-139.
The other two Noida players to make the cut were Rahul Bajaj (tied 18th at two-under-142) and defending champion Gaurav Pratap Singh (tied 30th at one-over-145).