Lankans continue to catch the eye

Lankans continue to catch the eye

Golf Louis Philippe Cup:Lahiri keeps Bangalore in contention

Sri Lanka’s Mithun Perera and Anura Rohana produced roaring performances to power their respective teams into the semifinals of the Louis Philippe Cup here on Thursday.

Hitting the ball like a dream that left him with just simple finishing acts on the greens, Perera shot a stunning seven-under 65 as rank outsiders Navratna Ahmedabad zoomed to the top of the leaderboard with a two-day cumulative total of 273.

Perera’s heroics were only matched by his compatriot Rohana, who seems to have found a special liking for the Karnataka Golf Association. Following up his opening round of 68 at a venue that gave his pro career a huge facelift, the 38-year-old kicked several gears up, equalling Perera’s best score of the day as dark-horses Take Chennai sealed the second semis spot with a total of 274.

In-form Anirban Lahiri was the best amongst the Indians, hitting a brilliant 66 to keep Puravankara Bangalore in the title hunt at third place (276), while Harendra P Gupta holed out an under-pressure 10-foot birdie putt on the closing 18th as Dev Ellora Chandigarh edged out Ansal API Lucknow on countback for the fourth and final spot after both teams were tied at 278.

Star-studded teams like Shubhkamana Noida (Jeev Milkha Singh), 3C Delhi (Shiv Kapur) and DLF Gurgaon (Jyoti Randhawa and Himmat Singh Rai), however, bowed out of the title race after their lead acts found it difficult to get their range right on another sun-splashed day that made it ideal for low scores.

Cashing in fantastically on the conditions were Perera and Rohana, who hardly put a foot wrong with fine overall displays. While Perera had just a minor blot -- a bogey on the fourth -- Rohana had a field day with seven birdies in a flawless performance.

Just like Wednesday, his iron play and chipping was top notch, often landing the ball closer to the pin. Unlike the opening round where he started in agonising fashion, Rohana took off in a blaze. He picked up a stroke straightaway on the opening hole after chipping from 30 yards out to within three feet before going two-under on the next hole with a powerful shot from 140 yards that left with a simple one-foot putt.

He birdied the seventh and the 11th before missing eagle opportunities on the 11th and 14th where the ball stopped just a feet short of the pin. Rohana birdied those two holes and picked up his seventh stroke of the day with a three-foot putt on the par-3 15th to set up a mouth-watering semifinal clash against Bangalore’s Lahiri in the matchplay segment.

Chandigarh and Ahmedabad will clash in the other semis.

Cumulative scores (Thursday’s scores in brackets): 273: Navratna Ahmedabad (133, Vikrant Chopra 68, Mithun Perera 65); 274: Take Chennai (136, Anura Rohana 65, SSP Chowrasia 71); 276: Puravankara Bangalore (137, Anirban Lahiri 66, Manav Jaini 71); 278: Dev Ellora Chandigarh (139, Harendra P Gupta 69, Gaganjeet Bhullar 70), Ansal API Lucknow (138, Md Siddikur Rahman 67, Vijay Kumar 71); 281: AVT Kolkata (140, Shankar Das 68, Feroz Ali Mollah 72); 282: Oxford Group West (139, Mukesh Kumar 69, Ashok Kumar 70), 3C Delhi (143, Rashid Khan 71, Shiv Kapur 72); 286: DLF Gurgaon (144, Jyoti Randhawa 72, Himmat Singh Rai 72); 293: Shubhkamana Noida (149, Gaurav Pratap Singh 74, Jeev Milkha Singh 75).

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