Shamim fires 68 to lead at halfway stage

shamimKolkata: Delhi’s Shamim Khan fired a four-under-68 to seize the round two lead at the McLeod Russel Tour Championship 2012 being played at the Royal Calcutta Golf Club (RCGC). Shamim’s total stands at six-under-138 at the halfway stage of the tournament.

Mukesh Kumar of Mhow shot a 71 on Thursday to be placed one stroke behind the leader in second position.

Shamim Khan (70-68), who was overnight tied fifth, dropped a bogey early on in his round after his tee shot found the rough on the third hole. The 38-year-old, currently placed second on the Rolex Rankings, soon turned the tide with eagle-birdie on the next two holes. Shamim eagled the par-5 fourth after hitting the green in two shots and subsequently converting the six feet putt. He then sank a 20-footer to birdie the fifth.

Shamim, a three-time winner in the current PGTI season, conceded a bogey on the sixth but came back fighting with a sublime effort on the back-nine where he birdied the 13th, 16th and 17th. He sank a monstrous 35-feet putt on the 13th and chipped-in from behind the green on the 17th.

“I missed just two fairways today as I drove it really well. My putting was also much better as compared to round one. I sank some long putts. One has to be aggressive on this course since it is quite long. Even though the fairways are narrow, using the irons instead of a driver or 3-wood is not an option,” said Shamim.

He added, “The next two rounds are very crucial in the context of the Rolex Rankings race as well. The difference between Rashid Khan and myself is just over Rs. 11,000 in the rankings. If I finish even one position ahead of him I would overtake him to become number one.”

Mukesh Kumar (68-71), the overnight leader, slipped to second position on Thursday after returning a 71 that included five birdies and four bogeys. His overall score reads five-under-139.

Local favourite Shankar Das’ five-under-67 was joint best score of the day. It helped him climb from overnight tied 32nd to tied third.

Shankar’s super round featured seven birdies and two bogeys. He made three straight birdies on the 15th, 16th and 17th.

Shankar, a three-time winner on the PGTI, said, “I changed my putter today. I was not feeling very comfortable with my old putter after missing a lot of short putts in round one. The change had the desired effect as I putted better today. I also played brilliantly on the back-nine.”

Abhijit Singh Chadha of Chandigarh, who also shot a 67 in round two, joined Das in tied third place at three-under-141. Chadha made six birdies against a bogey on day two.

Jyoti Randhawa with four birdies and two bogeys in his round of 70 was the third golfer in tied third position.

Kolkata’s SSP Chowrasia is a further shot back and shares the sixth spot with Vijay Kumar of Lucknow and Sri Lanka’s Mithun Perera.

Bangalore’s Anirban Lahiri and Rashid Khan of Delhi are joint ninth with totals of one-under-143.

By Indian Sports News Network