05 July 2018: After an eventful second day at the Damai Golf and Country Club in Malaysia, Indian golfers Himmat Rai and Gaganjeet Bhullar edged closer to contention for the Sarawak Championship. The former shot five under 67 while Bhullar shot a second straight 68 to reach the halfway stage at T8 & T10 respectively.
Meanwhile, Paul Peterson retained the lead with a 67, a two stroke advantage over John Catlin, Kevin Lee and Jazz Janewattananond. The American carried a score of 14-under 130 into the hut through 36 holes.
Peterson followed through on his brilliant 63 in the opening round with a solid five under card on Thursday. Catlin and Lee shot 65, with last week’s winner Jazz doubling up with a second round 66.
Himmat was efficient for a second day running, especially with the greens in regulation. Despite making just 8 of 14 fairways, the 31-year-old from New Delhi managed to make nearly 90% of the greens in regulation during his second round.
Rai was in fluent form, going six under through 12 holes before surrendering a late bogey at the 543 yard par-5 17th hole. He made four birdies on the front nine and two more on the return stretch. That run included four birdies in five holes from the eighth, as he imposed himself with ever growing conviction.
Bhullar is continuing to make the most of his good form. He made three birdies on either side, but also conceded a double bogey at the par-4 11th hole to settle for a 68.
Chikkarangappa climbed up the order with a 67, T15 at 7-under 137. One stroke behind him are Aman Raj and Khalin Joshi. Aman shot 67 while Khalin had to settle for a sedate 70. Chikka shot 71% of the fairways and 83% of the greens in regulation, during one of his best rounds in recent times.
Chikka took off the tenth hole, notching up birdies at the 13th & 17th to make the turn in 34 strokes. He added a birdie at the third, before conceding a lone bogey at the next hole. But he more than made up for that blip, carding three birdies in four holes, starting at the 206 yard par-3 fifth hole.
Ajeestesh Sandhu dropped down the order, posting one under 71 in the second round. He is 5-under through 36 holes. Jeev Milkha Singh (70-70) and Honey Baisoya (71-69) are just inside the top 50 at 4-under.
Rashid Khan made the weekend right on the number at 3-under, with a 70 in the second round.
Chiragh Kumar, Viraj Madappa, M Dharma, Jyoti Randhawa and Udayan Mane are the men who will miss out on a pay cheque after falling short at the half way stage.
Select Scores after round 2 of the Sarawak Championship
130 – Paul PETERSON (USA) 63-67.
132 – Kevin LEE (KOR) 67-65, John CATLIN (USA) 67-65, Jazz JANEWATTANANOND (THA) 66-66.
133 – Javi COLOMO (ESP) 66-67, Danthai BOONMA (THA) 67-66.
135 – Natipong SRITHONG (THA) 68-67, Himmat RAI (IND) 68-67, Peradol PANYATHANASEDH (THA) 66-69.
136 – John Michael O’TOOLE (USA) 68-68, Scott VINCENT (ZIM) 67-69, Gaganjeet BHULLAR (IND) 68-68, Yikeun CHANG (KOR) 69-67, Mark BROWN (NZL) 65-71.
137 – Quincy QUEK (SIN) 70-67, Shohei HASEGAWA (JPN) 71-66, Sukree OTHMAN (MAS) 69-68, Suradit YONGCHAROENCHAI (THA) 70-67, LU Wei-chih (TPE) 69-68, James MARCHESANI (AUS) 69-68, Johannes VEERMAN (USA) 67-70, Chikkarangappa S. (IND) 70-67, Sihwan KIM (USA) 67-70.