August 10, 2018: On a warm afternoon at the Karnataka Golf Association course in Bengaluru, Danthai Boonma produced an epic round of golf that set him apart from the field. The Thai star’s 61 dwarfed a phenomenal performance from S Chikkarangappa to open up a yawning divide between himself and the field. Danthai has a five-stroke advantage over Miguel Carballo and Maverick Antcliff. Chikka shot 7-under 64 to move into fourth place ahead of SSP Chawrasia.
With the tournament played off a prefered lie. the players are taking advantage of a clean ball. The scores have been low and the knife fell at one under. Jyoti Randhawa made the weekend on a birdie on the 18th hole and rushed to the range for some practice.
Shamim Khan squeezed into the weekend with birdies at the 15th, 17th holes before adding two more at five and six. Manav Jaini suffered the cut after conceding a bogey on the 7th hole, his 16th on the day.
Chikkarangappa shot eight birdies on either stretch as he put together a commanding performance in the second round. The man from Bengaluru has a rich heritage at the KGA and though he is six back from the leader, a good round on Saturday could well set up an intriguing dialogue for victory in the final round.
The lone blemish on his card came at the par-4 17th hole. But he finished with a birdie on the 624 yard 18th hole to end the day with plenty of positive energy to feed off for the weekend.
“I am very happy with the way I played,” said Chikkarangappa. “I have spent a lot of time working on my mind and energy. The round today was evidence that these efforts are paying off. I will look forward to continue in the same vein and have a good weekend.”
Danthai Boonma is a wiry young man that looks like a nerdy university student. His charming smile and humble demeanour can mislead the best of body language experts. But his resolve and ambition filter through his smiling eyes. The 22-year-old broke through with a gushing victory at the World Classic Championship in 2015.
Since then though, while he enjoyed several good performances, victory has consistently eluded the young golfer. That might be about to change this weekend. The 312th ranked Thai gave full expression to his golf this afternoon as he ravaged the leaderboard with a marauding assault that the KGA course will find hard to forget.
Boonma wove magic on the greens, producing some enormous putts as he rang in birdie after birdie. It was an incessant passage of play, with the Thai firing seven straight birdies to begin the day.
He eased off at the bend, making three straight pars. In an absurd manner, that felt like an aberration. Boonma returned to his new normal, firing three birdies over the next four holes to go 10-under for the round.
“I forgot my lucky charm this morning,” said Boonma. “We went back to the hotel to put it on and I had twenty minutes before the round to relax and prepare.
“It was amazing to make seven straight birdies to open my round. I never did that in my career,” he added. “I kept singing to myself and smiling. I tried not to think too much. I am very happy with my round. I hope to continue smiling through the weekend.”
Khalin Joshi owns the KGA course record 62, against par at 72. With scores of 67 and 69 this week, he is currently lying in T9 with Matthew Killen, Veer Ahlawat, Honey Baisoya, overnight leader Thammanoon Sriroj and Anura Rohana.
The scent of a 59 lingered in the air, but he dampened expectations with a par at the 15th hole. Now he was left with a couple of par 4s and the par-5 18th to try and chase an elusive target.
Danthai added three more pars to bring his spotless card home at 61, emulating in a sense the score by Khalin in 2012. However, the event this week is played off preferred lies to a par of 71.
As reported earlier, SSP Chawrasia is at 8-under and in fifth place, behind Chikkarangappa.
Viraj Madappa played to potential, scoring a memorable 65 to book himself a spot inside the top 5 as this eclectic field of golfers head into a promising weekend. He is tied in fifth with Suradit Y, both men at 7-under through 36 holes.