Mumbai, December 7: Chandigarh lad Akshay Sharma’s dream season continued as he posted a top-notch six-under-64 to take a one-shot lead in round two of the CG Open 2017 being played at the Bombay Presidency Golf Club (BPGC) in Mumbai. Akshay’s score at the halfway stage read nine-under-131.
Rookie Viraj Madappa (64) of Kolkata and Ahmedabad-based Udayan Mane (65), the PGTI Order of Merit leader, moved into tied second at eight-under-132 at the halfway stage of the Rs. 1 crore event.
Akshay Sharma (67-64) has been enjoying his best season on the PGTI having already secured two top-5s in the year to be placed a career-high 18th on the PGTI Order of Merit. On Thursday, the 27-year-old, lying overnight tied ninth, produced yet another standout performance as he mixed eight birdies with two bogeys to climb into the lead.
Akshay said, “It’s been a fantastic season for me so far and I believe I can make it better with a good finish here at the CG Open. I hit 14 greens in regulation today and did well on the par-5s with birdies on three of them. A 30-feet birdie conversion on the 15th really lifted my confidence. But the highlight of the round was the chip-in from the bunker on the third.
“I’ve drawn inspiration from my third place finish in Chandigarh two months back. I now have a solid foundation ahead of the last two days and would like to capitalize on it.”
Viraj Madappa (68-64) made a gain of 18 places from his overnight tied 20th after an error-free round of 64. Interestingly, Viraj currently is a close second behind friend Karandeep Kochhar of Chandigarh in the PGTI Emerging Player of the Year race, a contest that promises to go down to the wire.
Madappa said, “I salvaged a birdie with a long putt on the 18th despite being in the trees after my first shot there. I then enjoyed a good stretch on the front nine. I’m happy with the way I’ve played this week as this is my first tournament after full recovery from a back injury that kept me out of action for over a month.”
PGTI Order of Merit leader Udayan Mane (67-65) shared the second spot with Madappa after signing for a 65 that featured an eagle. He climbed seven places from his overnight tied ninth.
Round one leader Mithun Perera of Sri Lanka slipped to tied fourth place at seven-under-133 after a second round of 69. Defending champion Shamim Khan of Delhi, Sanjeev Kumar, M Dharma, Mohammad Sanju and Veer Ahlawat also joined Perera in tied fourth.
Mumbai’s Anil Bajrang Mane (70) dropped from overnight tied second to tied 12th place at five-under-135.
The cut went at one-over-141 as 61 professionals made it to the last two rounds.