Local boy Abhishek on pole position

Swede Flores turns on the heat with sizzling 10-under 62

Local boy Abhishek on pole position

Sweden’s Nils Flores turned on the heat in spectacular fashion but it was local boy Abhishek Jha who stole the spotlight at the end of round two in the Take Solutions India Masters here on Thursday.

On another day of glorious sunshine at the Eagleton Golf Resort, the 28-year-old Flores stunned everybody with a sizzling 10-under 62 before Jha arrived to the clubhouse with a second successive six-under 66 to seize a one-shot lead over the Swede.

Overnight leader S Chikkarangappa, who appeared headed towards retaining his pole position, shockingly shot a triple-bogey seven on his closing hole (9th) to end the day third at 134 after submitting a 70.

“My first goal was to make the cut considering the kind of form I was in coming into this tournament,” said the towering 6’5’’ Jha. “Now that I hold the halfway lead for the first time in my pro career, I’ve got to alter my game and thinking. I’ve played well so for and the aim would to continue doing the same things.” Jha, who will turn 28 next month, was in fine form throughout the day at his home course. Still searching for his maiden pro win, Jha, watched for most part by his coach Vijay Diwecha and a few friends, struck the ball beautifully and backed it up with some good work on the greens.

Appearing to be playing without much pressure as much of the focus was on Chikkarangappa, Jha began with a 10-foot birdie on the opening hole itself. He then nailed a 12-footer on the fourth before firing an eagle on the seventh, set-up brilliantly by his approach shot that landed the ball just 12 feet short of the pin.

He started his inward journey too with a birdie and following six pars, he picked up a shot on the 17th and then parred the 18th to cap a flawless performance and present himself a good chance of finally breaking the title duck.

Flores, sporting a thick beard, left everyone gasping in the morning session with his best-ever card. A journeyman who currently resides at the Black Mountain Golf Resort in Hua Hin, Thailand, turned most things he touched into gold. A 10th tee starter, he attacked the four par-fives -- 10th, 15th, 4th, 7th -- nailing birdies in all of them and surprised himself with an eagle on the par-4 6th — the shot from 128 yards, which he thought went off radar initially, rolled into the cup. He also sunk birdies on the 14th, 16th, 18th and third hole.

Chikkarangappa, while not in sizzling touch like he was on Wednesday, still held the lead with three birdies and eagle before things took a downturn on his final hole -- 9th. After going way to his left with his tee shot, the 21-year-old watched in dismay as the ball got stuck on a coconut tree in his second attempt.

He then took a penalty drop before going over the green with his fourth shot. He duffed his fifth and then two-putted to end the day on a disappointing note in what could have been a decent show otherwise.



Leading scores (after 36 holes, Indians unless mentioned): 132: Abhishek Jha (66, 66); 133: Nils Flores (Swe, 71, 62); 134: S Chikkarangappa (64, 70); 136: Deepinder Singh Khullar (67, 69), Khalin Joshi (67, 69); 137: C Muniyappa (69, 68); Niall Turner (Ire, 67, 70); 138: M Dharma (67, 71), Pujit Petchkasem (Tha, 65, 73); 139: R Murthy (71, 68), Lindsay Reynolds (70, 69), Ajeetesh Sandhu (72, 67).

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