Jaipur: Noida’s Vikrant Chopra was in hot form for the second day running at the Jaipur Open 2017 being played at the Rambagh Golf Club. Chopra emerged the frontrunner after amassing a record 15-under-125 total at the halfway stage thanks to a phenomenal second round of seven-under-63. He now leads the field by five strokes.
Lucknow’s Sanjeev Kumar matched Vikrant’s 63, the best round of the day, to move into joint second at 10-under-130 along with Delhi’s Shamim Khan, who fired a 65 on Thursday.
The cut was declared at one-under-139. Fifty-four professionals made the cut.
Vikrant Chopra (62-63), the joint overnight leader, followed up his sublime first round effort with another power-packed performance on day two to establish a commanding five-shot lead. His 15-under score, featuring 16 birdies and a lone bogey, set the record for the lowest two-day total on the PGTI.
Chopra, chasing his first individual title (he has won team events on the PGTI), continued the intensity in round two as he struck three birdies on the back nine to make the turn at three-under for the day. The front nine was even better for the 37-year-old with five more birdies coming his way at the expense of just one bogey.
The highlight of his round was the 40-feet birdie conversion on the second. He also landed it within two feet on four occasions to set up tap-in birdies.
Chopra said, “It’s been a dream run for me so far in this tournament. Generally 15-under is a winning score but I’ve managed to achieve it in two days. This week could really turn around my season which has been a quiet one so far.
“I made some good conversions on the greens early on but the 40-footer on the second hole got my round going as it took me to five-under just when I was looking at shooting a really low number. Importantly, I’ve kept the errors out dropping just one bogey in the first two rounds. Hopefully, I can carry the same form over next two days.
“I’ve always played well at the Rambagh Golf Club as it is a lot like my home course, the Noida Golf Club. I remember shooting a seven-under here few years back. The memories from my previous good performances here in Jaipur have also helped my confidence.”
Sanjeev Kumar (67-63) took a giant stride in round two as he moved up from overnight tied 13th to joint second place courtesy a flawless 63. Sanjeev, currently 10th on the merit list as a result of two top-5s in the season including a runner-up finish, made a chip-in for eagle on the eighth.
PGTI Order of Merit leader Shamim Khan (65-65) fired a second consecutive 65 to climb from overnight tied fourth to tied second. He too had a bogey-free round.
Delhi’s Honey Baisoya was in fourth at nine-under-131.
Seven golfers, including Delhi’s Gaurav Ghei, who also posted the day’s best score of 63, were bunched together in tied fifth at eight-under-132. Ghei gained 26 places as a result of his second round effort which included a birdie chip-in from the bunker on the ninth and a massive 35-feet birdie conversion on the closing 18th.
Ashok Kumar of Delhi, the joint round one leader, carded a 71 on Thursday to slip to tied 12th at seven-under-133.
Delhi’s Rashid Khan ended round two in tied 39th position with a total of two-under-138.
All four Jaipur golfers missed the cut. Jaipur’s leading professional Vishal Singh missed it by three strokes as his two-day total read two-over-142. Among the other Jaipur-based players, Mahesh Yadav totaled nine-over-149, while Damodar Kumawat and Yogendra Kumawat had a tally of 17-over-157 and 25-over-165 respectively.