Rashid storms to joint lead with Pariya at McLeod Russel golf meet

Kolkata, Dec 23 (IANS) Golfer Rashid Khan’s sensational eight-under 64 in the second round catapulted him to the top spot along with Thailand’s Pariya Junhasavasdikul at the McLeod Russel Tour Championship here on Friday.

Delhi’s Rashid and Pariya, who shot a four-under 68, opened up a four-shot lead at the top with their total scores of 10-under 134 at the Royal Calcutta Golf Club (RCGC).

Chandigarh’s Ranjit Singh sank the second hole-in-one of the tournament during his second round of 70.

Ranjit shared third place along with local favourite S.S.P. Chawrasia (68), Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) leader Shubhankar Sharma (68) of Panchkula and Noida’s Amardip Sinh Malik (70) at six-under 138.

Rashid (70-64), tied seventh and four off the lead after round one, found his way to the top of the pack with an error-free 64 that featured one eagle and six birdies.

Rashid, who is currently fourth in the ranking, has now received a shot in the arm for his aspiration to be the PGTI No.1.

Rashid made early inroads, sinking an eagle and two birdies on the first five holes. He drained a 20-feet eagle putt on the par-5 fourth.

He carried on the good work on the back-nine by adding four more birdies to his card. He landed it within a foot on the 12th, sank a 35-footer on the next and also capitalised with a birdie on the second par-5, the 15th.

“I was quite confident coming into this event as I had a runner-up finish last week in Jamshedpur. This round is a good boost for my Order of Merit chances,” Rashid told reporters later.

“I had a really good start today, unlike round one, and that made a huge difference. Importantly, I capitalised on both the par-5s on this course by making an eagle on one and birdie on the other. I’m quite at home at this course as I hold the joint course record here. So that will definitely be at the back of my mind in the next two rounds,” the two-time winner on the Asian Tour added.

“This season I’ve struggled with some injuries thereby playing fewer events on the both the Asian Tour and the PGTI. But I feel the game is getting better each week. It’ll be fun playing alongside Pariya tomorrow as both of us have played together many times on the Asian Tour before.”

Round one leader Pariya (66-68) shared the second round lead with Rashid after a clinical 68 that included five birdies and a bogey.

Pariya was one-under through the front-nine and then made a move on the back-nine with three long birdie conversions. His 25-footer for birdie on the last hole helped him end the day in the joint lead along with Rashid.

Kolkata’s Chawrasia, winner of the inaugural edition of the McLeod Russel Tour Championship in 2012, moved up from tied seventh to tied third after a 68 on day two.

Ranjit aced the second during his round of 70. He thus hung on to his tied third position.

Ranking leader Shubhankar Sharma and Amardip Sinh Malik, who had a hole-in-one on day one, joined Chawrasia and Ranjit in tied third at six-under 138.

Gaganjeet Bhullar (69), Jyoti Randhawa (69), Khalin Joshi (72) and Sanjeev Kumar (69) occupied joint seventh place at 139

Jeev Milkha Singh slipped from overnight tied fifth to the 11th spot after a sedate 71 on Friday. His total stood at 140.

Shiv Kapur (70) was a further shot back in tied 12th. City duo of Rahil Gangjee (71) and Arjun Atwal (73) were placed tied 22nd at even-par 144 and tied 31st at two-over 146 respectively.

–IANS

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