May 15, 2019: While Bengaluru’s Trishul Chinnappa golf player held on to the lead for the second day in succession, it was Greater Noida-based golfer Sudhir Sharma’s exquisite eight-under-64 that hogged the limelight in round two of the TATA Steel PGTI Players Championship Presented by Chandigarh Golf Club.
The 31-year-old Sudhir’s magnificent effort eclipsed the long-standing course record at the Chandigarh Golf Club (CGC) and saw him return to form after a long gap. On day two, Sharma climbed 44 positions to tied fourth at eight-under-136.
Trishul Chinnappa’s three-under-69 gave him a one-shot lead at 10-under-134 at the halfway stage of the Rs. 30 lakh event. The second position was shared by Patna’s Aman Raj (68) and Bangladesh’s Md Dulal Hossain (68) at nine-under-135.
The previous course record of 65 was broken after 13 long years as it was first set by legend Mukesh Kumar in 2006. Thereafter, it was matched by the likes of Gaganjeet Bhullar, Gaurav Ghei, Ranjit Singh, Shiv Kapur, and Trishul Chinnappa. Chinnappa had equaled it on Tuesday during the first round of the ongoing event.
The cut came down at even-par-144 with 57 professionals progressing to the last two rounds.
The pleasant weather conditions on Wednesday made it an ideal day for golf as the sun stayed away for the most part of the round. However, there was an extremely windy spell as well that added to the challenge faced by the professionals.
Sudhir Sharma (72-64), lying tied 48th and seven off the lead after round one, began the second day with a birdie on the first which was soon neutralized by his bogey on the third. Thereafter, it was a flawless display by Sudhir as he seemed to pick up birdies at will. Sharma, who went through a somewhat lean patch last year, chipped-in on the fourth and converted a 30-footer on the ninth to make the turn at two-under for the day.
A whirlwind back-nine saw Sharma, a joint runner-up at the Asian Tour’s Panasonic Open India 2017, gain six more shots. Some fabulous approach shots on the 10th, 12th and 13th left him birdie putts within six feet of the flag, all of which he converted.
Sudhir, a two-time winner on the PGTI Feeder Tour, ended the round in style with birdies on the last three holes to etch his name in the record books at the CGC. One of the highlights of his round was the delightful sand-wedge approach shot from 104 yards on the 18th that stopped one foot from the pin.
Sudhir said, “I haven’t been feeling too good about my putting for some time now. So I’ve been working on improving my consistency on the greens. The hard work seems to be paying off now as my putter did the trick today.
“After being five-under through 13 holes, I wasn’t thinking too ahead and just playing one shot at a time. It was great to close the day with three consecutive birdies. The two birdies I enjoyed the most came on the 10th and 18th. I hit extremely precise approach shots on both holes that set up the birdies.
“It’s great to have the new course record in my name. This encourages me to keep up the intensity over the next two days. The key from here on will be to continue hitting it well off the tee and seizing the opportunities on the greens with some solid putting,” added Sharma, who is searching for his maiden title on the TATA Steel PGTI.
Golfer Trishul Chinnappa’s (65-69) three long birdie conversions on the front-nine were negated by his three bogeys. However, he fought back with three more birdies on the back-nine to keep his lead intact.
“I feel I’m doing a lot of things right at the moment and that’s the reason I find myself in such a strong position. But there is still a lot of work to be done. I need to keep creating chances for myself and do the simple things right. I played well on the front-nine today but was done in by a couple of average chip shots,” said Trishul.
Aman Raj (67-68) and Md Dulal Hossain (67-68) clung on to their overnight tied second place with matching rounds of 68. Aman mixed five birdies with a bogey and narrowly missed his eagle putt on the 13th. On the other hand, Dulal made an eagle, four birdies and two bogeys. His round featured two chip-ins, one for eagle on the 13th and the other for birdie on the 18th.
Noida’s Gaurav Pratap Singh (67) and Kolkata’s Shankar Das (68) were both in tied fourth along with Sudhir Sharma at eight-under-136.
Mumbai’s Anil Bajrang Mane slipped from overnight tied second to tied 10th at five-under-139 as a result of his 72 on Wednesday.
The trio of Yuvraj Singh Sandhu, Harendra Gupta, and Aadil Bedi, were the best-placed among the Chandigarh golfers as they occupied tied 12th at four-under-140.
Jyoti Randhawa (71) was a further shot back in tied 19th.
Local amateur Sanju Kumar made a hole-in-one on the 14th during his round of 74. However, he missed the cut since he totaled six-over-150.