21 August 2021: Shiv Kapur is rediscovering his rhythm. The Indian repeated the 70 he shot in the opening round to go into the weekend at 4-under 140. SSP Chawrasia was unfortunate to miss out, after a 75 dropped him right beneath the cut line at 1-over. Ajeetesh Sandhu will miss the weekend too after finishing a further two strokes behind Chawrasia. Sebastian Söderberg equalled the course record at Albatross Golf Resort as he fired an eight under par 64 to take the halfway lead at the D+D REAL Czech Masters.
Shiv kept his card tidy for the most part, barring a lone bogey at the par-5 ninth hole. He made three birdies on Friday. The 39-year-old has been barely playing during the pandemic. This is only his sixth start since August last year, and he missed the cut in each of those five events. So this weekend is going to be refreshingly special for the Indian, who has a good finish well within his sights.
Soderberg, who will defend his Omega European Masters title next week at Crans-sur-Sierre, made the turn three under par before play was halted for half an hour due to waterlogging after heavy rain in the Czech capital.
He then made his move after play resumed, going four under on his next three holes with two birdies and an eagle, before taking the outright lead with his seventh birdie of the day on the 18th, signing for a ten under par total.
“I did play really well. I didn’t really get into trouble, except on 17 and I made a good up and down. It was a lot of fairways, a lot of greens, a few nice putts and a very solid day,” said the Swede.
“I went four under in three holes right after the rain delay, so it worked out pretty good for me.
“It’s been a tough year so far, I decided to take a longer break this summer. It’s my first event in five or six weeks. I took a pass earlier with my swing coach, who I’ve been with for 13 years. I started to work with him again this summer and it’s feeling pretty good again.”
The 30-year-old leads Sean Crocker of the United States and Poland’s Adrian Meronk, who both carded five under par rounds of 67 to sign for nine under par totals.
“It’s been nice. I’m just trying to stay calm and play some golf out there. I’m still learning this game, it takes a while and I’m just trying to play my game and be happy with it, that’s all,” said Crocker.
“On certain holes (my length) certainly helps – but I keep hitting it into the bunkers on the par fives. So it’s not really helping me too much.
“My putting is getting there. Each week that I’ve started working on it and finding what I need to do, it’s starting to click. My caddie and I are working on it every single day and it’s paying off. It’s nice to not have to rely on my long game and my iron play. My putter is saving me sometimes, which takes a lot of stress off my game.”
They sit one stroke ahead of 2016 Open Champion Henrik Stenson, who remains bogey-free after 36 holes on eight under.