Shubhankar surges ahead

Youngster cards eight-under in round two

Shubhankar surges ahead

On a second successive party-filled day for golfers, promising teenager Shubhankar Sharma raised the tempo with a strokeful performance to steer clear of an overcrowded leaderboard in the TAKE Solutions India Masters here on Thursday.

Making the best use of the benign conditions on offer at the Eagleton Golf Resort that once again saw a staggering 81 pros break par from a 154-member field, Shubhankar followed up his opening round exploits with a fine eight-under 64 to total 129 for a two-shot lead.

Defending champion S Chikkarangappa carded 66 to share the second spot with the disciplined Himmat Rai (67) at 131 while pace-setter Greg Moss managed only a 70 in comparison to his opening round 62 to lie fourth at 132.

The cut was applied at four-under 140 -- one of the lowest on the domestic PGTI circuit although this event is co-sanctioned with the Asian Development Tour (ADT) -- revealing how easy the conditions have been over the last two days.

Although the tournament officials tried making things challenging by placing the pins on some of the holes on the edge of the greens, the lack of wind, wide fairways and soft greens all combined to help the pros shoot low scores without breaking much sweat.

Among the first ones to cash in on the glorious conditions was morning starter Subhankar.
The youngest pro winner on the PGTI at a tender age of 17, the 19-year-old Jammu-born Gurgaon-resident struck the ball brilliantly throughout the day, hardly missing any of the greens. His only concern was putting, where he faltered a bit which otherwise would have seen him go at least three shots lower.

He opened his round with an eight-foot birdie on the opening hole and then missed a three-foot putt on the third hole that cost him a bogey. The putter turned cold again on the fourth hole when he squandered a chance to sink an eagle from eight feet before settling for a birdie. He birdied the sixth and then missed a seven-foot eagle putt on the seventh, again only salvaging a birdie there.

He birdied the eighth, 11th, 14th, 17th and 18th to sign off as the clubhouse leader and remained perched there after none of the afternoon starters could overhaul him.
Chikkarangappa produced a solid round to stay within touching distance of Shubhankar.

There were no early struggles like Wednesday and looked smooth for most of the second round. He started off with a birdie on the 10th, picked up a shot on the 15th before birdieing the 17th to take the turn at three-under.

He started his incoming journey with birdies on the first and second holes before picking up his sixth birdie on the sixth hole.

Leading scores (after 36 holes, Indians unless mentioned): 129: Shubhankar Sharma (65, 64); 131: S Chikk­ar­angappa (65, 66), Himmat Rai (64, 67); 132: Greg Moss (US, 62, 70); 135: Trishul Chinnappa (65, 70), N Tha­n­g­araja (SL, 65, 70), N Dawar (66, 69), Rashid Khan (65, 70), Shivendra Sisodia (68, 67); 136: Aditya Bhandarkar (69, 67), Anil Mane (68, 68), Lalith K (SL, 71, 65), Khalin Joshi (67, 69), Masaru Takahashi (Jpn, 65, 71), Md Zamal Hossain Moliah (Ban, 71, 65), GP Singh (67, 69).

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