New Delhi: Confidence with the putter and good memories at the Delhi Golf Club (DGC) propelled Bengaluru’s Khalin Joshi to the top of the pack at the halfway stage of the Rs. 70 lakh TATA Steel PGTI MP Cup 2021 Presented by Delhi Golf Club Supported by Just In Time Sports Foundation.
The 29-year-old Joshi (69-66), the winner of the last men’s professional tournament (Asian Tour event) staged at the DGC three years back, struck a six-under 66 consisting of seven birdies and a bogey to move up six places and take the sole lead in round two as his total read nine-under 135.
Gurugram’s Veer Ahlawat (72-65) shot the day’s best score of 65 to gain 37 spots and move into tied second at seven-under 137. Sri Lanka’s N Thangaraja (70-67) and round one joint leaders Manu Gandas (67-70) of Gurugram and Chikkarangappa S (67-70) of Bengaluru were also tied for second place along with Ahlawat.
The cut went at two-over 146. Fifty-two professionals and one amateur made the cut.
Khalin Joshi, the winner of an Asian Tour event at the DGC in October 2018, began the day on a high thanks to a 15-feet birdie conversion on the first. He added two more birdies and a bogey on the front-nine to make the turn at two-under for the day.
Khalin, a winner of four professional events, began building momentum on the back-nine with an excellent approach shot from 140 yards on the 11th that landed inches from the pin for a tap-in birdie. He followed that up with a 15-feet putt for par save on the 12th.
Joshi wrapped up the day with three more birdies on the last five holes. He fired another outstanding approach from 130 yards on the 15th which missed the hole narrowly and gave him an easy birdie putt.
“My confidence comes from the fact that I’m rolling the putts well and my wedge-play has been terrific. I’m feeling good about my game at the moment.
“I have great memories of this course having won an Asian Tour event here in 2018. So that definitely helps. But the DGC’s greens are totally different now and it’s a ball-striker’s course now, something that I’m enjoying,” said Khalin.
Veer Ahlawat went error-free on Wednesday. He made 16 greens in regulation and had a chip-in birdie.
Veer said, “I feel my course management is much better at the DGC now as compared to before. I play it safer with my tee shots and try to attack with my approach shots. I also felt I could’ve gone lower as I didn’t capitalize on all the par-5s making birdies on just two out of the four par-5s.”
Kolkata’s Viraj Madappa and Gurugram’s Kartik Sharma were tied sixth at six-under 138.
PGTI Order of Merit leader Karandeep Kochhar of Chandigarh was tied eighth at five-under 139.
Delhi’s Rashid Khan, the overnight joint leader, slipped to tied 12th at four-under 140 after a round of 73.
Indian star Shiv Kapur shot a 67 to be tied 15th at three-under 141. Another star attraction SSP Chawrasia was tied 34th at one-over 145.
Round one joint leader Ajay Baisoya of Delhi dropped to tied 42nd at two-over 146.
The only amateur to make the cut was Arvind Khanna of the Delhi Golf Club who was tied 42nd at two-over 146.
Olympian Udayan Mane missed the cut as he totaled 10-over 154 while Jyoti Randhawa withdrew from the event due to an injury.