Gurugram, Feb 24 (SocialNews.XYZ) Angad Cheema hung in there with a second round of one-under 71 to be the best-placed Indian in tied second at the end of the second day of the US$2 million Hero Indian Open 2023.
Leading the Indian charge on Friday, Cheema (68-71) totalled five-under 139 to climb two spots from his overnight tied fourth and trail the leader Yannik Paul (65-69) of Germany by five shots at the DLF Golf and Country Club.
Cheema, carrying forward his consistent run from the last PGTI season, shared the second spot with Finland's Mikko Korhonen (72), Iceland's Gudmundur Kristjansson (71) and Germany's Marcel Siem (70).
Honey Baisoya (66-74), in tied sixth at four-under 140, and Yuvraj Singh Sandhu (70-71), in tied eighth at three-under 141, were the other two Indians in the top 10 on day two. While Baisoya slipped four spots on Friday, Sandhu maintained himself in tied eighth for the second straight day.
The cut was applied at four over 148 as 67 professionals progressed to the weekend rounds. Sixteen out of a total of 32 Indians made the cut.
Yannik Paul put together four birdies and a bogey in round two to extend his lead to an impressive five shots.
Cheema, a winner on the PGTI in his rookie season in 2013, was off to a good start with birdies on the first and fourth. However, a couple of inaccurate tee shots on the seventh and 14th led to bogeys for Cheema as he managed just one more birdie on the 11th. He missed birdie opportunities from within 10 feet on the eighth, ninth and 10th and his short-range birdie putt on the 18th lipped out.
Chandigarh-based Cheema, who posted five top-10s on the PGTI last year to end 11th on the merit list, said, "It is a tough golf course, and you have to stay patient. You have to stay patient and I've been trying to work on that, not only on this golf course but also in general. I've managed to keep the errors to a minimum so far.
"On the PGTI, we played two events at this venue last year, which helped me get a good understanding of this course.
"I'm encouraged by the presence of my coach Jesse Grewal here this week. It's great to support knowing that I can always fall back on him if I have any doubts. It's a proud feeling to be the leading Indian. It's a good feeling to be up there, it's not going to be easy but I've just got to go out there and do my best," the 33-year-old added.
Baisoya started on the tenth and birdied his first hole to get to 7-under. However, he endured a lot of pain thereafter with two double bogeys and a bogey in the next six holes. Yet, the DLF golfer did not wilt and clawed his way back with birdies on 17 and 18 to turn in 2-over 38. On his second nine, he had three birdies and three bogeys in his last seven holes for a card of 74 that keeps him in the hunt.
Sandhu returned in the morning to complete his opening round of 70 and returned shortly after and added four birdies and three bogeys for his 71.
Shubhankar Sharma (74) rued a cold putter that saw him slip into a tie for 13th alongside Yashas Chandra (71) at two-under 142. Manu Gandas (70-73), the 2022 PGTI Order of Merit winner, and Veer Ahlawat (73-70) were in shared 19th place on one-under 143.
Two-time winner S.S.P. Chawrasia, Gaganjeet Bhullar and Shiv Kapur made it to the weekend. The trio were tied 56th at four-over 148. Defending champion Stephen Gallacher of Scotland missed the cut by two shots.
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