Sep 25, 2019: Bengaluru’s Syed Saqib Ahmed fired a blistering nine-under-61 in round two of the TATA Steel PGTI’s Jaipur Open 2019 to storm into a three-shot lead at 15-under-125 at the Rambagh Golf Club.
Saqib, a former winner on the PGTI, thus equaled Vikrant Chopra’s record for the lowest score after two rounds at a PGTI event. Noida-based Vikrant had also achieved the feat at the Rambagh Golf Club during the inaugural Jaipur Open in 2017.
Round one leader Abhinav Lohan of the DLF Golf & Country Club, Gurugram, who had previously shot a 61 on Tuesday, came up with a 67 on day two to drop to second place at 12-under-128.
The halfway cut went at two-under-138 on a day that saw a light drizzle accompanied with wind in the afternoon session. Fifty-three professionals made the cut.
Syed Saqib Ahmed (64-61), who was tied seventh and three off the lead after round one, began the day making rapid strides up the leaderboard thanks to his fabulous ball-striking on the back-nine that saw him tap-in for four of his six birdies before the turn.
Saqib, a winner on the PGTI in 2018, then had a contrasting front-nine where he rolled in three birdie putts from a range of 10 to 15 feet and almost had a chip-in for eagle on the eighth. Saqib’s 11 birdies and two bogeys on Wednesday raised his hopes of a second title.
Saqib said, “My back-nine and front-nine were in sharp contrast to each other even though I played equally well in both halves. While I began the day with some good hitting, I followed it up with consistent putting later on. The last four holes were a little tough as it started drizzling and got windy but I adapted to the conditions well on that stretch.
“Me and my coach found something in my swing prior to this event and we’ve tried to address that. The change seems to be working for me at the moment as the score suggests.
“I feel I’m slowly getting in my groove after the mid-season break. I’d like to shake off the rust this week as it’s been a slow season for me so far with just one top-10 finish in Pune.”
Abhinav Lohan kept his hopes of a maiden title alive with a steady 67 that consisted of five birdies and two bogeys. Lohan was one-over through 12 holes before he turned it around with three long birdie conversions on the 13th, 15th and 16th. He closed the day with a birdie on the last to stay in the hunt.
Abhinav said, “I’ve been pretty solid over the first two days. The only exception being that I missed a few short putts today.”
Chandigarh’s Yuvraj Singh Sandhu, the Feeder Tour Order of Merit leader, produced a sizzling 62 to be joint third along with Faridabad’s Karan Pratap Singh (65) and Bengaluru’s M Dharma (67) at 11-under-129. Yuvraj ended the day with a flourish as he birdied the last four holes.
Defending champion Aman Raj of Patna was placed tied 19th at six-under-134 while PGTI Order of Merit leader Rashid Khan of Delhi occupied tied 40th place at three-under-137.
Indian star Jyoti Randhawa withdrew from the tournament due to a neck injury.
All the Jaipur-based golfers in the field failed to make the cut.