Amardip Sinh Malik surges ahead in round two of Kensville Open 2017 presented by PGTI

Amardip Sinh Malik Round 2 leaderAhmedabad: Amardip Sinh Malik of Noida surged ahead in round two of the Kensville Open 2017 presented by PGTI. Malik took a one-shot lead thanks to an error-free round of five-under-67 at the Kensville Golf & Country Club in Ahmedabad on Wednesday. His two-day total read eight-under-136 at the Rs. 40 lakh event.

Allahabad’s Samarth Dwivedi, the overnight leader, dropped to second place at seven-under-137 on day two after a fighting two-under-70.

Delhi’s Himmat Singh Rai (67) and Kolkata’s Shankar Das (70) occupied tied third place at six-under-138.

Noida’s Gaurav Pratap Singh produced the day’s best score of six-under-66 which propelled him to tied fifth at five-under-139. Chandigarh’s Sujjan Singh (69) also took a share of fifth.

The cut fell at five-over-149. Sixty-one professionals and both the local amateurs, Anshul Patel and Varun Parikh, made the cut.

Amardip Sinh Malik (69-67), who was overnight tied fifth, two off the lead, rose into contention on day two with a flawless 67. Malik, a winner on the PGTI, started well by hitting it close on the first few holes. He birdied the 12th, 13th and 14th to get on a roll.

Amardip created three more birdie opportunities on the front-nine of which he converted two, on the second and sixth, to emerge as one of the frontrunners for the title.

Malik, who won his last title on the PGTI, three years back, said, “After a good start I was three-under at the turn and told myself that if I can just give myself a couple of more birdie opportunities I could go low. I did that as I managed the holes really well. Even though I missed from three feet on the fourth hole, I didn’t let that bother me because I knew this is going to happen a lot this week.

“The highlight of my round was that I managed the course really well. All my birdies were within five to six feet. I also made some tough two-putts today. I’m eight-under on a golf course which is not playing easy, I’m quite pleased about that.

“I’m feeling good at the moment as my hitting and putting is quite sharp and I’m also injury-free. I had injured the little finger on my right hand at the end of last year. I struggled with the pain and played with it for quite a few months. I even had to withdraw from the Asian Tour Qualifying School in January this year due to the injury. I finally recovered in May and have been working hard on my game since then.

“If I can just manage to do what I’ve done over the last two days, I’m sure I’ll win. At the beginning of the week I thought nine-under will be the winning score, now I feel if I’m nine or 10-under for four days, I’ll have a good shot at the title,” added the 32-year-old Malik, one of the most consistent performers on the PGTI over the last decade.

Samarth Dwivedi (67-70) endured a poor start as he bogeyed the 10th and 12th after making three-putts on both occasions. He then made a valiant comeback with an eagle conversion from 20 feet on the 14th and two more birdies on the 18th and first. He made pars on the last eight holes to stay in touch with the lead.

Himmat Singh Rai and Gaurav Pratap Singh were the big gainers on day two. While Himmat moved up from overnight tied 12th to tied third as a result of his 67, Gaurav zoomed from overnight tied 29th to tied fifth courtesy his day’s best score of 66.

The two Ahmedabad-based players in the field, amateurs Anshul Patel and Varun Parikh, closed the day in tied 42nd place at four-over-148.