Zamal takes midway lead

Dhaka: Md Zamal Hossain Mollah of Bangladesh carded seven-under 65 to grab a three-stroke lead in round two of the American Express Bangladesh Open 2012. Zamal’s total stands at eight-under 136 at the halfway stage.

Zamal’s compatriot and round one leader Md Siddikur Rahman, slipped to joint second after firing a 73 in round two. Siddikur shares second spot along with R Murthy of Bangalore, Delhi’s Vikrant Chopra and Vijay Kumar of Lucknow at five under 139.

The cut was declared at nine over 153. Fifty professionals and one amateur made the cut.

Md Zamal Hossain Mollah (71-65) had a slow start to the day as he bogeyed the 10th. Zamal, the 2009 Bangladesh Open champion, made a quick recovery with birdies on the 12th and 13th. The 27-year-old chipped-in from the edge on the 12th and landed his second shot within three feet on the 13th. Mollah dropped his second bogey of the day on the 15th but the birdie on the 17th meant he made the turn at one under.

Zamal turned on the heat on his second nine as he went on a birdie-hunting spree. The Dhaka-based professional fired in his approach shot from 135 yards to within three feet to pick up a birdie on the first. Zamal made three birdies in a row on the third, fourth and fifth to move to five under for the day. The Bangladeshi’s pitching wedge shot from 139 yards stopped one foot from the pin on the fourth while his 12 feet eagle putt on the fifth missed the hole by a whisker.

Zamal’s bunker shot on the seventh landed one foot from the hole and led to yet another birdie for him. He continued the good work with the wedges since he hit it within a couple of feet to set up a birdie on the ninth.

Zamal said, “I excelled with the wedges today as I hit it extremely close on a number of occasions. I also drove well and found the centre of the fairway quite often. I missed a lot of putts in round one but today I did not leave myself any long putts.

“I am thrilled to have made nine birdies today. I couldn’t have asked for a better round. This sets me up for the next two days. Since this is my home course and I relish the conditions here, I’ll look to target a total score of 20 under this week.”

Md Siddikur Rahman (66-73), the overnight joint leader, slipped to joint second place after he fired a one over 73 in round two on Wednesday. Siddikur’s round featured three birdies and four bogeys.

R Murthy, Vikrant Chopra and Vijay Kumar share second place along with Siddikur at five under 139. Murthy’s 66 in round two included seven birdies and a bogey.

Feroz Ali Mollah of Kolkata, the overnight joint leader, is in tied sixth along with Abhijit Singh Chadha of Chandigarh at four under 140.

Bhanu Pratap Singh of Delhi made a hole-in-one on the sixth hole on day two. Bhanu’s nine-iron tee shot landed a few feet short of the hole and rolled in after a couple of bounces. The Delhi golfer posted a 75 on Wednesday to total nine over 153 for two days. He is currently placed tied 46th.