Akshay Sharma fires two eagles en route second straight 67 to keep the lead


Udayan Mane rises to tied second with day’s best 64; Sunit Chowrasia also grabs a share of second 

Shubhankar Sharma in tied eighth

Nuh, Haryana, February 13, 2019: Chandigarh’s Akshay Sharma kept the lead on day two of the PGTI Players Championship at the Classic Golf & Country Club in Nuh, Haryana, after firing a second consecutive round of five-under-67 that featured two eagles. Akshay, the first round joint leader, now holds the sole lead at 10-under-134.

Ahmedabad’s Udayan Mane scorched the course with the day’s best round of eight-under-64 to rise 23 spots to tied second at nine-under-135. Kolkata’s Sunit Chowrasia, nephew of Indian golfing legend SSP Chawrasia, also grabbed a share of second place as he gained one position with a round of 67.

India’s numero uno Shubhankar Sharma, the star attraction at the event, shot a four-under-68 in round two to rise from overnight tied 11th to tied eighth place at six-under-138.

The halfway cut was declared at even-par-144 and 51 professionals made the cut.

Akshay Sharma, a winner on the PGTI last year, reaped the dividends of some consistent hitting in round two. The 28-year-old chipped-in for eagle on the 14th but soon dropped a stroke on the 16th. However, his round took off on the front-nine where he made a 12-feet eagle conversion on the third and landed his wedge shots within four feet for birdies on the first and seventh.

Akshay said, “Both my rounds have been 67 but today’s was better as I made fewer bogeys and struck it consistently on the front-nine. It’s also always special to make two eagles in a round. I now have a good foundation to strive for my second title.”

Udayan Mane produced a fiery and error-free 64 to take a flight from overnight tied 25th to tied second. Udayan, who finished tied fifth in Hyderabad last week, made a 15-feet eagle conversion on the third that set up his day. He followed that up with six birdies most of which came about as a result of some top-class wedge-play.

Mane said, “I’ve been playing well since last week so I’m in good rhythm. I hit it closer today as compared to round one and importantly had no blemish so there was good momentum through the day. I played some accurate wedge shots that set up a few short birdie putts.”

Sunit Chowrasia made progress from his overnight tied third place courtesy a bogey-free round of 67. Chowrasia, who finished a creditable 44th in his rookie season last year, made some quality chip-putts during his impressive second round.

Sunit said, “I’ve had a great week so far having dropped just one bogey over the first two days. My putting has been excellent. I’ve drawn confidence from my solid performances in my rookie season last year. I’m looking to make it an even better season this year.”

Om Prakash Chouhan of Mhow came up with a 66 to occupy fourth place at eight-under-136.

Noida’s Vikrant Chopra, like leader Akshay, also made two eagles during his second round of 67. Vikrant was tied for eighth at six-under-138.

Shubhankar: Introduction of OWGR points opens doors for more Indian players

Indian star Shubhankar Sharma was also in tied eighth as a result of his 68. The two-time European Tour winner spoke about how excited he was to return to his home tour after over a year.

Shubhankar said, “Since my tied sixth finish in Hong Kong last year, I’ve not been as consistent as I would’ve liked, although I had a decent top-30 finish at the Dubai Desert Classic last month. So in order to get my confidence back with a good finish, I decided to play on the PGTI this week. Now that we have Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points on the PGTI, one can hope to pick up some crucial points with a top performance here.

“It’s been fantastic to return to my home tour as it all began for me here on the PGTI. I was delighted just to meet everyone especially my friends. It’s also great to be back at Classic as this was my home course for about three years before I turned professional.

“I feel my game is now on the right track since I’m hitting it good and everything else seems to be falling in place.

Shubhankar was thrilled about the positive impact the introduction of world ranking points will have on the PGTI and Indian golf.

He said, “Indian golf has been on the rise for quite some time now. Our golfers have been constantly making a mark in Asia and Europe, the level of competition on the PGTI has been improving with every year, so I feel we were due to get world ranking points on the PGTI. Now that we’ve got them, it opens the doors for more Indian players to make an impact on the world stage and also for the world to recognize the kind of talent that we have in India.

“I feel the introduction of world ranking points will also help in improving the fields at PGTI events as Indian players who are Asian Tour regulars will have that extra incentive and motivation of playing on their home tour.

“It’s not easy earning world ranking points abroad, so Indians who have Asian Tour cards will definitely think seriously about playing in India. That will give them the opportunity to play in familiar conditions where they are confident of performing well and at the same time picking up vital world ranking points.

“I myself will try and play on the PGTI as much as I can as decent finishes here will help me make progress in the world rankings.”

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