HYDERABAD: Gurugram’s Manu Gandas burnt the course with a sizzling 10-under 58 to build a substantial five-shot lead at 17-under 122 in round two of the Golconda Masters Telangana Open 2021 Presented by Vooty & Haldi at the Hyderabad Golf Association (HGA) course.
Noida’s Amardeep Malik was in second place at a total of 12-under 127 following his second round of seven-under 61.
Twenty-one-year-old Gurugram-based rookie Kartik Sharma, playing his first event at the HGA since turning professional, produced an enthralling error-free nine-under 59 to be placed tied third at a total of 10-under 129 along with Chandigarh’s Yuvraj Singh Sandhu who shot a six-under 62 on Friday.
The heavy overnight rain resulted in waterlogging on a couple of fairways at the HGA. As a result, Hole No. 6 was reduced from a Par-5 to a Par-3 and Hole No. 18 was reduced from a Par-4 to a Par-4. Therefore, the par for the course in round two was 68 instead of the regular 71.
There was a one-hour delay in the commencement of the round in the morning due to wet conditions. It then rained briefly for about 20 minutes in the afternoon but play was not suspended at any stage.
The cut was declared at even-par 139. Fifty professionals and two amateurs made the cut.
Manu Gandas (64-58), the joint leader in round one, mixed five birdies with two bogeys on the front-nine which saw him make two long conversions from 20 to 30 feet.
Gandas, still looking for his maiden title, was on fire on the back-nine draining seven birdies which included some exceptional chip-putts, a great recovery from the bunker on the 17th and a 25-feet conversion on the 18th. The 25-year-old Manu closed the day in style making birdies on his last five holes.
Gandas said, “A 10-under is always special and a score of 58 sounds great. I’ve just been striking it great since day one and today I took all my opportunities on the greens. One has to make some subtle adjustments while playing in such conditions where rain has affected play. I did well in making those adjustments.
“I feel the back-nine presents more scoring opportunities here and I capitalized on that. It’s now about taking it one round at a time and making the most of this big lead.”
Amardeep Malik (66-61) made his way up from overnight tied fourth to second place after a round punctuated by an eagle, six birdies and two bogeys. Malik made a sensational chip-in from the rough for an eagle-two on the 14th.
Amardeep, who has previously shot a nine-under at HGA, said, “I managed to play well through the brief period of rain when I was on the 12th, 13th and 14th. I’m happy that I picked up four shots on that stretch with birdie-birdie-eagle. I’m playing well and looking forward to the weekend.”
Kartik Sharma (70-59), tied 28th and six off the lead at the start of the day, made early inroads with four birdies on the front-nine including tap-ins on the sixth and eighth.
The back-nine was even better for the left-handed Kartik as he accumulated five more birdies. He staged a remarkable recovery from the lip of the fairway bunker on the 12th landing his approach within 25 feet of the flag and then sinking the birdie putt. After a birdie on the 14th, Sharma converted from seven to 10 feet to sign off with birdies on the last three holes.
Kartik said, “There was a little nervous energy when I began the week because I, like all the others, was playing tournament golf after a long time. But that nervousness helped me get into my zone.
“The course was playing softer compared to yesterday due to the overnight rain. That actually suited my game as I have lower ball-flight with my irons compared to many other players. Usually my ball would have more run after landing but now it’s stopping thanks to the softer conditions.”
Bengaluru-based Chikkarangappa, the 2019 champion, was tied fifth at nine-under 130 along with Mysuru’s Yashas Chandra.
PGTI Order of Merit leader Karandeep Kochhar of Chandigarh was in seventh place at eight-under 131.
Hyderabad-based professional Mohd Azhar was the highest-placed local golfer in tied 17th at five-under 134.
Chandigarh’s Harendra Gupta, the winner of the inaugural edition in 2015, was tied 27th at three-under 136.
The two amateur golfers from Hyderabad who made the cut were Milind Soni (tied 35th at two-under 137) and Tej Gangavarapu (tied 45th at even-par 139) were well-placed at tied 20th and tied 28th respectively.