Bengaluru, February 12: Gurugram's Veer Ahlawat and Patna's Aman Raj emerged halfway leaders at 12-under-132 at the TATA Steel PGTI Players Championship 2020 presented by Eagleton - The Golf Resort.
While Veer struck a 65, Aman returned a 67, as the duo held a one-stroke lead. Bengaluru's Khalin Joshi carded the day's best score of eight-under-64 to lie third at 11-under-133 at the second event of the 2020 TATA Steel PGTI season.
Shubhankar Sharma, the pre-tournament favourite and defending champion followed up his first round 73 with a steady 71 in round two to occupy tied 35th place at even-par-144.
The cut fell at one-over-145 with 50 professionals advancing to the last two rounds.
Veer Ahlawat (67-65), a 10th tee starter, was rewarded for his accuracy off the tee as he collected five birdies on the back-nine including four on the trot from the 14th to the 17th. He moved to an imposing eight-under for the day with three more birdies between the first and the fifth including a chip-in on the third.
The lanky Ahlawat stumbled towards the end with bogeys on the sixth and ninth where he missed chip-putts in exchange for a birdie on the seventh.
Veer said, "I hit a lot more fairways today as compared to round one so that set up the opportunities for me. My putting was also better than the first round. I played well for most of the day but had a bad stretch towards the end.
"I've bogeyed the ninth on both days as it doesn't suit my eye. So, I'll look to change my game-plan and do something different on that hole over the next two days."
Aman Raj (65-67), the first-round leader, managed to stay on top of the leaderboard for the second day running with a round that featured eight birdies and three bogeys. His round was highlighted by his precise approach shots on the 11th and 13th that landed within a couple of feet of the pin to set up birdies.
Aman said, "It was a good day for me except I feel I made a few too many bogeys. My approaches and wedges were good and I was happy with my recovery on the last three holes as I birdied the seventh and ninth."
Khalin Joshi's flawless 64 included an eagle-two on the sixth where he found the hole with his lob wedge shot from 105 yards.
Noida's Gaurav Pratap Singh also shot the day's best 64 to be tied fourth at 10-under-134 along with Delhi's Himmat Rai who fired an error-free 66. Gaurav Pratap submitted a card with nine birdies and a bogey. He made a birdie chip-in on the 15th and a couple of quality par-saves on the front-nine.
Pune's Udayan Mane, who won PGTI's last two events, was a further stroke back in tied sixth. Bengaluru's Chikkarangappa shared ninth place at eight-under-136.
Shubhankar Sharma recovered well after a double-bogey on the first hole as he added five birdies at the cost of two bogeys to his card.
Bengaluru-based Viraj Madappa, the joint runner-up in Hyderabad last week, missed the cut by one shot after firing a 72 in the second round that took his total to two-over-146. Indian hockey legend Dilip Tirkey too missed the cut as he totaled 18-over-162.
Source: PGTI Release