Ahmedabad: The seasoned Mukesh Kumar completed his second round in dramatic fashion making a 15 feet par putt in virtual darkness to grab a five-shot clubhouse lead at 11-under-133 at the TAKE Classic. The Mhow golfer shot a breathtaking bogey-free seven-under-65 on a day that witnessed two rain delays and a loss of more than two hours of play at the Kalhaar Blues & Greens in Ahmedabad.
Sri Lankan Anura Rohana and Chandigarh’s Abhijit Singh Chadha fired scores of 69 and 71 respectively to be tied for second at six-under-138.
Play was suspended at 7 pm local time with 31 players out of 125 yet to complete the second round. The second round will resume on Friday at 7:30 am with the third round not likely to commence before 9:30 am.
The 52-year-old Mukesh Kumar (68-65) came out firing on all cylinders on Thursday as he sank five consecutive birdies from the 10th to the 14th converting putts from five to 10 feet with relative ease on the stretch.
Mukesh, who began the round in tied second, picked up two more strokes on the front-nine including one courtesy a brilliant up and down from the bunker on the fifth. He then made a dramatic closing par from 15 feet on the ninth in near darkness.
The winner of over 100 titles including one on the Asian Tour is now bogey-free for the first two rounds.
Mukesh said, “The rain and the wind didn’t make it easy out there. The harsh conditions meant that the course played three to four clubs longer than usual. But I was in the zone from the very start as the putter was hot. I also made 17 greens in regulation today.
“I missed a few easy birdie opportunities after the early birdie blitz. However, I was delighted to complete the day with a top-class par-save. I’ve never played well on this course, so the effort will be to set the record straight this time around.”
Anura Rohana (69-69), the winner of PGTI’s last event played in Pune in April, continued his good form after a second straight 69. Anura, fresh from a joint runner-up finish at the Sri Lankan Open (a non-PGTI event) last week, garnered all of his five birdies from a range of five to seven feet. He also recovered well for a bogey after finding the water on the seventh.
Rohana said, “It was a terrific putting day for me. I missed only two putts, that’s where I dropped my two bogeys of the day. I attacked the lines on the greens and that paid off. I kept creating chances by landing it close as my approach shots were pretty accurate throughout.
“My target would be to try to play seven to eight under in the next two rounds in order to have a good chance of winning.
“I feel I’ve been in great touch since my Pune win. The joint second finish last week in Sri Lanka also added to my confidence. If I win here, I have a great chance of taking a shot at the PGTI Order of Merit title. I’ve been playing professional golf in India for the last 15 years and my best Order of Merit ranking on the Indian circuit has been fifth. Thus winning the Order of Merit title would mean a lot to me.”
Round one leader Abhijit Singh Chadha (67-71) slipped to tied second on day two. Chadha’s challenge seemed to be fading away when he dropped a disastrous quadruple bogey on the 15th after finding the OB twice. However, he made an exceptional recovery on the front nine, following up an eagle on the fifth with birdies on the next three holes.
Among the other prominent names, Delhi duo of Shamim Khan (Order of Merit leader) and Chiragh Kumar shot a second straight 72 to be tied 11th at two-under-142.
Panchkula-based Shubhankar Sharma (even-par-144) and Bengaluru’s Khalin Joshi (one-over-145) were placed 19th and tied 20th respectively.