Chandigarh’s Abhijit Singh Chadha emerged leader in round two of the 16th TATA Open 2017 courtesy a flawless seven-under-64 that took his total to 13-under-129 at the Rs. 1 crore event.
Sri Lankan Anura Rohana produced the best round of the tournament so far, a staggering 10-under-61, to move into tied second at 12-under-130 along with three-time former champion Mukesh Kumar (65) of Mhow. Abhijit Singh Chadha (65-64), lying overnight tied fourth at the scenic Golmuri Golf Course, earned his place on top of the leaderboard after a sizzling round that featured three birdies on the back-nine and four more on the front-nine.
The 26-year-old Chadha, a two-time winner on the PGTI, made some quality chip-putts on the back-nine and followed that up with a couple of long conversions on the front-nine.
Abhijit, a member of the Indian team that won a silver medal at the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games, said, “My hitting was okay but I putted really well. I holed a number of putts which is not easy here because the greens are tricky.
“I’m 18th on the Order of Merit but feel I can make move up further with a strong finish to the year, especially after this round. Putting will be the key over the next two days since it’s not a very long course.”
Anura Rohana’s (69-61) unbelievable 61 propelled him from overnight tied 43rd to tied second place. The seasoned 44-year-old, who won on the PGTI earlier this year, made a charge early in the day with birdies on the second, third and fourth.
Colombo-resident Anura picked up two more shots before the turn and followed that up with an eagle and four birdies on the back-nine. Rohana played some excellent approach and wedge shots to land it within five feet on seven occasions.
“My ball-striking was the best part of my game today and even my putting was much better compared to round one. The birdies I enjoyed the most were the two long putts on the third and the eighth. I didn’t think too much about the score today and just kept up the intensity throughout.
“I got a new iron set recently, which is working for me. I’m looking at a total of 17 to 18-under for the week in order to have a chance to win.
“I’m inspired by the fact that my countryman and friend Mithun Perera had won the 2012 edition of the TATA Open. I want to be the second Sri Lankan after Mithun to win this prestigious tournament,” said a confident Rohana.
Mukesh Kumar shot a second straight 65 at his happy hunting ground to join Rohana in tied second place.
Kolkata’s Raju Ali Mollah (65) was a further shot back in fourth place at 11-under-131.
Viraj Madappa of Kolkata, the round one leader, slipped to tied 23rd at six-under-136 after a round of 74 on Friday.
The cut was declared at two-under-140 with 59 players making it to the money rounds.
Pune’s Aditya Bhandarkar missed the cut by two shots but made a hole-in-one on the seventh during his round of 73.
The Jamshedpur trio of professional Karan Taunk (four-over-146) and amateurs Navtez Singh (even-par-142) and Kurush Heerjee (five-over-147) missed the cut.