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Veer Ahlawat leads in strong local flavour at DGC Open


The Delhi Golf Club has often been a happy hunting ground for Indians, and so it proved in the second round of the DGC Open on Friday.

Veer Ahlawat had impressed on Thursday, being one of the rare players to make a good start while teeing off in the afternoon. In the second round, he made good use of the calmer conditions in the morning to post a five-under 67. After his 68 in the first round, that gave the 26-year-old a two-shot cushion over compatriot Ajeetesh Sandhu (68). Both Indians had bogey-free rounds on Friday.

Overall, there were seven Indian names in the top-10 along with three Thai players (Nitithorn Thippong, Chanat Sakulpolphaisan and Kasidit Lepkurte – all inside the top four) and overnight co-leader Aussie Travis Smyth, who fell back into a tie for seventh place after a one-over 73. Shankar Das, who shared the lead after the opening round, also didn’t have things go his own way as a round of 74 saw him dropping to tied 12th place.

“Just keep it in play – you don’t have to hit it long off the tee, just keep it in play. The wind was much less today morning than yesterday afternoon,” Ahlawat, still looking for his maiden title on the Asian Tour, reflected on his strategy after Friday’s round.

It’s been five years since Sandhu tasted success on the tour and he stressed on the importance of staying calm on the course. “There were a lot of missed opportunities again. It was tough with the wind. I think you really had to be patient,” the Chandigarh golfer said.

One of the major movers in Round 2 was Gaganjeet Bhullar, who stormed into contention with a six-under 66. The most successful Indian on the Asian Tour with nine victories had five birdies in a row at one stage and finished the day in a tie for fourth place at five-under.

“I was just in a good frame of mind. I think this is my best round at the DGC as a pro. I’ve shot 6-under as a junior, as an amateur, but I’ve never shot 6-under as a pro,” Bhullar said.

Like most other players, he felt going out in the morning was an advantage.

“In the morning the greens are very quick and true, but I guess by the day so many people walk and you know the green kind of becomes a little slow,” the 33-year-old from Amritsar said.

However, another prominent Indian and a DGC member Shiv Kapur encountered a tougher day with a round of 73 that put him in a tie for 22nd spot. That, in itself, was an improvement on a four-over start through 10 holes. Jeev Milkha Singh and SSP Chawrasia were also among the 67 golfers to make the cut for the weekend.





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