Pune, April 3: Lucknow's Sanjeev Kumar produced the second day's best score of five-under-66 at the Pune Open Golf Championship 2019 to be in a three-way tie for the halfway lead along with Sri Lankan N Thangaraja (68) and Bengaluru's Jaibir Singh (70) at eight-under-134.
Kolkata's Shankar Das (67) was one shot off the lead in fourth place at the Rs. 30 lakh event.
The cut came down at three-over-145 at the Poona Club Golf Course as 53 professionals made it to the money rounds.
Sanjeev Kumar (68-66), who was tied seventh and five off the lead at the start of the day, leapfrogged six spots to joint first courtesy his hot putter. The 27-year-old, a consistent performer on the PGTI who is still searching for his maiden win, began poorly on day two as he dropped a double-bogey on the second.
However, Sanjeev who has a couple of runner-up finishes to his name, rallied with five consecutive birdies from the sixth to the 10th to fight his way back into the tournament. He drained two more birdies on the back-nine to emerge as a prime contender.
Sanjeev said, "I felt good about my game from the very outset today. When I hit a terrific tee shot on the first hole, I knew it was going to be one of those days where I could do something special. I came back really well despite the early double-bogey on the second.
"I was in top form with the putter as four of my seven birdies came as a result of conversions from a distance of 15 to 20 feet. I feel my putting average has been getting better since I decided to go back to my original stance and grip with the putter last month.
"I had changed my putting stance and grip about eight years back. But with my putting not being at its best since the start of this season, I felt it was now the right time to get back to my old style."
N Thangaraja (66-68), lying tied fourth and three off the lead after round one, found his way to the top of the leaderboard on Wednesday thanks to his accurate chipping as three of his five birdies came as a result of brilliant chip shots that led to tap-ins. He mixed five birdies with two bogeys.
Jaibir Singh (64-70), who was in second place and one behind the leader after day one, had a dramatic round that featured six birdies, three bogeys and a double-bogey. Jaibir was two-over through his first 13 holes but turned it around with a birdie chip-in on the sixth followed by two more birdies on the seventh and eighth.
Shankar Das, who had won at the Poona Club Golf Course back in 2011, got himself in a good position with a 67. He trailed the leaders by one. Ahmedabad-based Samarth Dwivedi, the first round leader, slipped eight spots to tied ninth at three-under-139 after a round of 76.
Source: PGTI Release