Shankar Das grabs lead on day two

Digboi: Kolkata’s Shankar Das followed up his first round 67 with a score of 69 in round two to establish a one-stroke lead at the halfway stage of IndianOil XtraPremiu​m Masters 2011. Das, who was overnight second, now has a total score of eight-under 136.

Harendra Gupta of Chandigarh returned a phenomenal eight under 64 to end the day in second place at seven under 137. The cut was declared at seven over 151. Fifty-one professionals made the cut.

Shankar Das (67-69) shot a sedate three under 69 on Thursday that featured three birdies. Shankar, the defending champion, began with a birdie on the first where he hit his approach shot within five feet of the pin. He hit an equally good second shot on the fifth that also led to a birdie. Das took his score to three under for the day when he converted a 20 feet birdie putt on the seventh.

“My putting wasn’t as good as it was in round one. I missed a lot of short birdie putts otherwise my score could’ve been much lower. Looking on the brighter side, I did not drop any strokes today. I’ve given myself a good chance of defending my title so far. Now I just need to focus well over the next two days,” said Shankar.

Harendra Gupta’s (73-64) eight under 64 was the best score of round two that catapulted him from overnight tied 20th to second position. The 27-year-old, who won the 2005 edition of the IndianOil XtraPremium Masters, made an astounding nine birdies in his round against a lone bogey. Gupta’s putter was hot throughout the day as he sank as many as four birdie putts from a range of 12 to 20 feet.

Gupta, a winner of four professional titles, said, “I hit 16 greens in regulation today and hardly missed a putt. Everything seemed to be working for me today. This has been a happy hunting ground for me since I have won here in the past. Therefore, I’m confident of doing well at this venue once again.”

Arshpreet Thind (71-70) of Gurgaon carded a two under 70 to be placed third at three under 141. Thind’s round included six birdies, two bogeys and a double bogey. Kolkata golfers Nabin Mandal and Raju Ali Mollah are in tied fourth place along with Delhi’s Shamim Khan and Sanjay Kumar of Lucknow at two under 142.