Chapchai soars; Chinnarat slips
Montgomerie misses cut; Gangjee rises
For the second consecutive day, Asians dominated the run of play at the Avantha Masters. Even as overnight leader Chinnarat Phadungsil of Thailand slipped down seven places, compatriot Chapchai Nirat hopped to the top of the leaderboard with China’s Liang Wen-chong in the second round at the Jaypee Greens Golf Course here on Friday.
Both Chapchai and Liang were tied at second place on the opening day. They again carded identical six-under 66s for a total of 12-under 132. The two took the clubhouse lead midway and were untouched till the end of the day’s play.
Liang sank eight birdies, the 25-foot putt at the 17th hole being the highlight, and two bogeys. Chapchai had seven birdies against one bogey in his round.
Liang and Chapchai are now two strokes ahead of Thailand’s Chawalit Plaphol (68), Scotland’s David Drysdale (67) and Tommy Fleetwood (65) of England.
The cut was set at three-under 141 with 74 players waltzing into the weekend action. Defending champion Jbe Kruger, who finished with a disappointing even-par 144, shockingly missed the cut.
From the 74, fourteen Indians made the cut, including veteran Jeev Milkha Singh (69, 68), Anirban Lahiri (68, 69) Gaganjeet Bhullar (68, 69), Ashok Kumar (68, 71), Jyoti Randhawa (70, 70), Rashid Khan (67, 73),† SSP Chowrasia (68, 72), Himmat Rai (70, 71).
After creating a flutter with his 11-under stunner in the opening round, Chinnarat could not repeat his performance.
A 10th tee starter, he made a double bogey on the 11th, sunk four more bogeys, salvaging the damage somewhat with two birdies for a four-over 40 at the turn.
He followed it up with another bogey at first and dropped to the tied seventh position with a nine-under 135. Joining him were India’s Rahil Gangjee and Abhijit Singh Chadha, Jaakko Makitalo, Australian Scott Hend, Frenchman Julien Quesne and Brazil's Da Silva.
Gangjee catapulted a whopping 23 places while Chadha, who was tied at second spot after the first round, slipped five places with four birdies and a bogey at 17th.
On the contrary, Gangjee played a bogey-free round peppered with six birdies, including a 50-footer on the third, where the ball nearly lipped out before dropping in.
Chapchai said the course suited the Thai players, who are known to be the long hitters. “We’ve got many good players from Thailand as you can tell from the leaderboard,” he said. “This course also favours us as it’s long and we’ve many long hitters,” he said.
Missing the cut among leading stars was Edoardo Molinari (72, 70), Anders Hansen (73, 69), Gregory Bourdy (74, 68), Simon Dyson (73, 70) Daniel Chopra (73, 71), Thomas Levet (72, 73) and Colin Montgomerie (76, 76).
Leading scores (after 18 holes, Indians unless mentioned): 132: Nirat Chapchai (Tha, 66,66),† Liang Wen-chong (Chn, 66, 66); 134: Chawalit Plaphol (Tha, 66, 68), David Drysdale (Sco, 67, 67), Tommy Fleetwood (Eng, 69, 65); 135: Rahil Gangjee (69, 66) Abhijit Singh Chadha (66, 69), Jaakko Makitalo (Fin, 67, 68), Scott Hend (Aus, 67, 68), Julien Quesne (Fra, 69, 66), Brazil's Adilson Da Silva (Bra, 70, 65), Chinnarat Phadungsil (Tha, 61, 74).