Battle of Titans – Danny Chia and Eddie Pepperell climb up the order

Danny Chia (69) and Eddie Pepperell (70) threw their clubs in the ring for Hero Indian Open honours. Only eleven players remain under par at the DLF Golf & Country Club.

Danny Chia

Anand Datla

Gurugram, March 11, 2017: Despite the irksome weather conditions in Gurugram, the DLF Golf & Country Club is turning into a coliseum for gladiators. Now we have three men running the cards at the Hero Indian Open. Danny Chia and Eddie Pepperell took advantage of the softer morning conditions to sail into a tie for the lead with SSP Chawrasia. All three men are lying at 5-under 139, just one ahead of David Horsey. Matteo Manassero is in fifth place, despite suffering a 74 in the second round. Overall, just eleven golfers managed to break par in the second round of the co-sanctioned Asian and European Tour event.

Overnight delays due to poor weather have cost the tournament 240 minutes already, throwing the schedule into a loopy mess. Nearly half the field completed their second round this morning, pushing the start of the third round to 1300 hours with three men in each group. The cut fell at six over, leaving Shiv Kapur and Khalin Joshi missing the weekend right below the line. 69 players made the cut, including Arjun Atwal, who was 6-over through two rounds.

The European Tour and Asian Tour have also decided to have a two tee start – 12 groups including the leaders start off the first tee, while 11 groups start from the 10th tee.

Eddie Pepperell
Eddie Pepperell

Back to the leaders – Chia continued to show good levels of consistency, going under par for a second day running. Pepperell, Chia and Michael Hoey (T6) are the only golfers to have dipped under par in both the rounds.

The Malaysian star knocked down six birdies again, just the same as his first round in a well composed 69. Pepperell made five birdies in the second round, besides three bogeys for his 70.

Gaganjeet Bhullar is playing with purpose, but for a second day running, he was forced to sign a 74. “I am disappointed with the score, but this is a difficult course,” he told the Golfing Indian. “I will take it and look to play some aggressive golf over the next two days to try and catch up with the leaders.”

Bhullar has been in great form recently and is eager to make the most of it. “I have moved to California. I will play the qualifying school events and see where I land next year,” said Gaganjeet. “I will see if I land up on the Tour or the PGA Tour next season. I am striking the ball well and am hopeful that I can go all the way.”

Anirban Lahiri played some resolute golf on Saturday, after a double bogey at the sixth left him dealing with disappointment yesterday. “I am not very happy to be ten strokes back,” Lahiri told the Golfing Indian. “But after dropping shots and losing balls, glad to be through to the weekend. I will look to play some aggressive golf and hunt for birdies to try and push forward.”

With the Sun beating down again on the demanding Gary Player course, we are set for a thrilling weekend as we wait to discover the winner of the 53rd edition of the Hero Indian Open.

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