Muniyappa soars to the top, Atwal shines

C Muniyappa chips from a bunker in the second round of the Indian Open on Friday.

Muniyappa, who earned his tour card at Qualifying School in Thailand earlier this year, took the clubhouse lead with a two-day total of nine-under at the USD 1.25 million full field Asian Tour event before Korean Lee Sung joined him at the top after carding 70.
Digvijay Singh also remained on course for his maiden Asian Tour triumph, bringing home his second successive 68 to share the third place with overnight leader Adam Blyth (72) at 136.

Mukesh Kumar (139) also sneaked into top 10, carding 68 to share the ninth spot with four others, including star attraction and Indian-born Swede Daniel Chopra, who carded 72.

In all, 22 Indians made the cut while 29 others, including Rahil Gangjee, Ali Sher and Harmeet Kahlon, missed the cut.

Muniyappa, who started on the back nine, managed to bounce back from a bogey on the 14th hole, when he holed two consecutive birdies in his next two holes to make the turn in 35.

Muniyappa then added another two birdies on his inward nine to take an early one-stroke lead.

Also starting from the back nine, Digvijay Singh kept alive his hopes for a maiden Asian Tour title when he posted three straight birdies from the 14th hole after dropping one shot on the 12th.

The 37-year-old held his nerve going into the back nine and holed two more birdies on the first and sixth holes to return with a 34 to remain in contention for his career breakthrough on the Asian Tour.

The best round of the day, however, came from the US-based Atwal.
Staring at the prospect of missing the cut after his opening round nightmare of 75, the Orlando-based Indian responded with a sterling 66 and his total of 141 not only kept him for weekend action but also catapulted him to tied 19th.

A 10th tee starter, Atwal was two-under after his back nine before he set the other half on fire.

The fifth hole bogey was a mere aberration as Atwal drained three birdies before signing off in style, firing an eagle on the par-five ninth hole.

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