SSP Chawrasia continues in lead with 69 on day two of TATA Steel Tour Championship

SSP CHOWRASIA 26Jamshedpur: The seasoned SSP Chawrasia continued in the lead in round two of the Rs. 1.5 crore TATA Steel Tour Championship 2021 after returning a three-under 69 that took his total to 12-under 132.

Twenty-one-year-old Karan Pratap Singh of Faridabad, playing only his second season as a professional, shot a blistering 65 to climb two spots to second position at 11-under 131.

Pune-based Udayan Mane, the 2019 champion, moved into tied third at 10-under 134 following his round of 66. Defending champion Gaganjeet Bhullar also shared third place courtesy his second round of 67.

SSP Chawrasia (63-69), the first round leader by four shots, was quick off the blocks on Friday with birdies on the second, third and fourth. However, the Kolkata-based Chawrasia three-putted from 15 feet for a bogey against the run of play on the sixth. The two-time Indian Open champion then bounced back with some excellent wedge shots that resulted in birdies on the ninth, 11th and 13th.

SSP then struggled over the final stretch after some erratic shots that led to a double-bogey on the 15th and a bogey on the 18th.  He did manage a birdie on the 16th.

Chawrasia said, “I began well but missed a lot of putts today compared to yesterday that led to losing the momentum later in the round. I did make a good come back at the turn but the missed chance on the 15th was another disappointment.

“One has to be careful in Beldih to not go over the table-top greens. Landing it a little short gives you a better chance. That’s what even I was doing.”

Karan Pratap Singh (68-65), who has two top-10s this season, had eight birdies and a bogey during his round. Karan landed it within six feet for four of his eight birdies. He also salvaged birdies with a couple of brilliant up and downs from the bunker on the 12th and 16th.

Karan said, “I was struggling with iron shots on the front-nine but the 10-minute warm-up time after playing at Golmuri and before teeing off at Beldih really helped me because I began with a birdie on the 10th at Beldih. That lifted my confidence as I collected four more birdies thereafter.

“I’m happy with the way I’m playing this week. I had not been consistent during the season having struggled with my ball-striking in the second half. But I’m now feeling comfortable with my swing for the past couple of weeks and I feel my hitting is getting better.”

Udayan Mane (68-66), currently third in the PGTI Order of Merit, mixed eight birdies with two bogeys during round two. Mane, who represented India at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics earlier this year, had a chip-in on the seventh and was eight-under for the day through 13 holes. However, he bogeyed the 15th and 18th.

Gaganjeet Bhullar (67-67) had a birdie-birdie-eagle start but then dropped four bogeys in exchange for five birdies as he ended up with a second straight 67.

Star attraction Shubhankar Sharma (67-71) slipped six spots to tied eighth at six-under 138 after posting a 71.

Sudhir Sharma of Greater Noida fired a hole-in-one on the 10th during his round of 70. Sudhir too was in tied eighth.

Bengaluru’s M Dharma produced the day’s best score of eight-under 64 to be tied 16th at five-under 139.

Bengaluru’s Chikkarangappa (73), currently second in the PGTI Order of Merit, was tied 47th at one-over 145. Joining Chikka in a share of 47th place were Indian golf legend Jyoti Randhawa (74) and Jamshedpur-based professional Karan Taunk (74).

PGTI Order of Merit leader Karandeep Kochhar (75) of Chandigarh was tied 55th at two-over 146.

Kurush Heerjee (77), the second player from Jamshedpur in this field, was tied 69th at seven-over 151.