Ramsay stays ahead of the pack

Ramsay stays ahead of the pack

Bhullar rallies with two-under to be five shots behind the leader; Kapur slips

Scot Richie Ramsay struck it rich for the second successive day even as the Thai flavour in the Hero Indian Open got spicier here on Friday.

Playing under a balmy sun with hardly any wind, joint pace-setter Ramsay made the best use of the near perfect morning conditions, firing a five-under 66 for a two-round total of 10-under 132 to open up a three-shot advantage in the second round at the Karnataka Golf Association.

Thailand’s Panuphol Pittayarat and Chapchai Nirat then battled a spell of rain in the afternoon to share the second spot along with Finland’s Jaako Makitalo at 135 following identical 68s to set up a weekend of intense action.

Gaganjeet Bhullar led India’s challenge that appears to be slowly fizzling out despite the distinct home advantage. The Kapurthala pro overcame his putting shortfalls with his accurate driving for a fine two-under 69 that left him five shots off Ramsay.

Overnight tied third, Shiv Kapur struggled on his inward journey, managing a sedate 71 to slip to tied 10th at 138 while 2009 champion C Muniyappa missed the cut with an erratic three-over 74 (152).

Ramsay seems to have taken to the KGA like a duck to water. Feeling at home at the narrow tree-lined course that rewards accurate hitters with a strong game around the greens, the 29-year-old has courted very little trouble in the two rounds.

Finding most regulations without breaking much sweat, the Scot kept hitting the ball as straight as an arrow, setting up numerous birdie chances. His only concern was putting, missing at least four birdies by a whisker that would have seen him take a commanding grip.

A 10th tee starter, Ramsay got into the act in his very second hole with a six-footer birdie. He then went steady for the remaining part of his front nine before being bogged down by a series of misses from the first hole.

However, he didn’t allow the frustration to get the better of him, keeping his cool and exploding to life from the fifth hole, firing four birdies, including three on the trot from the seventh. While the fifth and eighth hole efforts were simple four-foot putts, he drained 25-footers on the seventh and ninth to cap his day on a thumping note.

“The key was patience,” said a delighted Ramsay. “I knew I was playing well and hit a lot of good iron shots. If you keep playing that way, sooner or later you will make something. Obviously it was nice to have been patient over the first four holes and be rewarded on the last five holes. It really makes you feel that you got something in the round.”

Bhullar could have finished much higher up the leaderboard but for his putter going cold for the better part of the day. Although he drove brilliantly, hardly` making any errors, the putts didn’t sink as intended.

Starting on the 10th, Bhullar found a birdie after a long wait on the 18th but was back on level terms with his first bogey of the event on the fourth hole. He, however, made amends quickly, picking up shots on the fifth and eighth holes to keep himself in the title hunt.

Kapur, who shot three straight birdies from the 11th to eventually lead Ramsey by a shot at the turn, was left rue two costly errors on his inward journey.

He bogeyed the fourth, two-putting from five feet, before miscalculating the lie on sixth that cost him a double bogey and hampered his card.

Three-time champion Jyoti Randhawa clawed his way with a gritty 68 on the day but has a lot or work to do, trailing Ramsay by eight shots, while 2011 Avantha Masters champion SSP Chowrasia was way back at 144 (74, 70).

Leading second-round scores

Leading scores (after 36 holes, ‘A’ denotes amateur): 132: Richie Ramsay (Sco) (66, 66); 135: Panuphol Pittayarat (Tha) (67, 68), Chapchai Nirat (Tha) (67, 68), Jaako Makitalo (Fin) (67, 68); 136: Angelo Que (Phi) (68, 68); 137: Gaganjeet Bhullar (Ind) (68, 69), Thaworn Wiratchant (Tha) (69, 68), James Morrison (Eng) (66, 71), Kwanchai Tannin (Tha) (71, 66); 138: Simon Griffiths (Eng) (70, 68), Arnond Vongvanju (Tha) (71, 67), Shiv Kapur (Ind) (67, 71), Scott Barr (Aus) (70, 68), Adam Groom (Aus) (70, 68), Jason Knutzon (US) (68, 70), Adilson Da Silva (Bra) (70, 68).

Other Indians: 140: Chiragh Kumar (69, 71), S Chikkarangappa (A) (72, 68), Jyoti Randhawa (72, 68); 141: Anirban Lahiri (70, 71).

Key tee-offs

* 9.05 am: Anirban Lahiri.
* 9.15 am: Peter Hanson.
* 9.40 am: Jyoti Randhawa.
* 10.30 am: Shiv Kapur.
* 10.40 am: Gaganjeet Bhullar, James Morrison.
* 10.50 am: Thaworn Wiratchant, Jaako Makitalo.
* 11.00 am: Richie Ramsay, Chapchai Nirat, Paruphol Pittayarat.

Note: All will be teeing from the first hole

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