Joshi, Kim share lead at the top

Joshi, Kim share lead at the top

Rashid cards 64 to rise to third spot

Joshi, Kim share lead at the top

Rookie Khalin Joshi and rising youngster Rashid Khan shared the spotlight in the second round of the SAIL-SBI Open here at the Delhi Golf Club on Thursday.

Bangalore’s Joshi followed up his first-round 66 with a steady three-under 69 to remain in pole position.

As the sun set down on the DGC, Joshi was joined in the lead at nine-under by American-Korean Chan Kim (67, 68), who finished with a flourish, firing four birdies in a row.

Joshi and Chan were one shot ahead of Rashid (72, 64) and Bangladeshi Siddikur (68, 68), while there was a big bunch at six-under and five-under.

Big-hitting Rahil Gangjee, whose sole win on Asian tour came in 2004 the year it was established, landed two brilliant eagles -- one with a putt from 30 feet and another from 45 feet -- en route 66 that brought him to a total of seven-under and a share of the fifth place.

Title holder Anirban Lahiri worked his way into the title mix with a battling 68 placing him on 139 alongside another home star Shiv Kapur, who signed for a 70, and Thai duo Pawin Ingkhapradit (69) and Thitiphun Chuayprakong (67).

Strong field

The 20-year-old Joshi, making his professional debut on the Asian Tour, chipped in for an eagle on the 14th to go with two birdies and one bogey. Joshi, India’s number one ranked amateur last year, has not shown any fear to lead a strong field at the challenging DGC.

He turned in at 36 with a birdie on the first being offset by a bogey on the eighth hole before producing the shot of the round with an exquisite chip-in eagle on the 14th.

He rolled in a six-footer birdie on the closing hole to end his day on a high.
“I hit the ball good although my putting wasn’t great,” said a thrilled Joshi.

“I holed a chip on the 14th for eagle so that was good. Honestly, I felt normal. I didn’t feel any pressure. I just wanted to go out there and do the best that I could. Conditions were a bit easier, not much wind compared to yesterday but the flags were a bit tougher,” Joshi added.

A strong finish this week, or even a win, could make up for his disappointment of not earning his Asian Tour card through Qualifying School in Thailand in January.
Meanwhile Rashid, who finished second in the PGTI 2012 Order of Merit, atoned for his modest even-par 72 on the first day with his best-ever round at his home course.

Rashid zoomed up the leaderboard with nine birdies, three of them in a row on his last three holes.  Rashid had just one bogey on the 13th, his fourth hole of the day after starting at the tenth.

Leading scores (after 36 holes, Indians unless mentioned):

135: Khalin Joshi (66, 69), Chan Kim (US, 67, 68); 136: Rashid Khan (72, 64), Siddikur (Ban, 68, 68); 137: Rahil Gangjee (71, 66); 138: Chiragh Kumar (68, 70); 139: Anirban Lahiri (71, 68), Pawin Ingkhapradit (Tha, 70, 69), Shiv Kapur (69, 70), Thitiphun Chuayprakong (Tha, 72, 67); 140: Abhinav Lohan (73, 67), Jake Higginbottom (Aus 70, 70), Ajeetesh Sandhu (70, 70), Lam Chih Bing (Sin, 73, 67), Baek Seuk-hyun (Kor, 71, 69).