Bengaluru’s Syed Saqib Ahmed fired a blistering nine-under-61 in round two to take a three-shot lead at the Tata Steel Jaipur Open in Jaipur on Wednesday. Saqib ended the day with a total of 15-under-125 at the Rambagh Golf Club.
Saqib thus equaled Vikrant Chopra’s record for the lowest score after two rounds at a PGTI event. Noida-based Vikrant had also achieved the feat at the Rambagh Golf Club during the inaugural Jaipur Open in 2017.
Round one leader Abhinav Lohan of the DLF Golf & Country Club, Gurugram, who had previously shot a 61 on Tuesday, came up with a 67 on day two to drop to second place at 12-under-128.
The halfway cut went at two-under-138 on a day that saw a light drizzle accompanied with wind in the afternoon session. Fifty-three professionals made the cut.
Saqib (64-61), who was tied seventh and three off the lead after round one, began the day making rapid strides up the leaderboard, thanks to his fabulous ball-striking on the back-nine that saw him tap-in for four of his six birdies before the turn. Saqib then had a contrasting front-nine where he rolled in three birdie putts from a range of 10 to 15 feet and almost had a chip-in for eagle on the eighth.
Saqib’s 11 birdies and two bogeys on Wednesday raised his hopes of a second title. “My back-nine and front-nine were in sharp contrast to each other even though I played equally well in both halves,” he said.
“While I began the day with some good hitting, I followed it up with consistent putting later on. The last four holes were a little tough as it started drizzling and got windy but I adapted to the conditions well on that stretch.”
Lohan kept his hopes of a maiden title alive with a steady 67 that consisted of five birdies and two bogeys. Lohan was one-over through 12 holes before he turned it around with three long birdie conversions on the 13th, 15th and 16th. He closed the day with a birdie on the last to stay in the hunt.
Chandigarh’s Yuvraj Singh Sandhu, the Feeder Tour Order of Merit leader, produced a sizzling 62 to be joint third along with Faridabad’s Karan Pratap Singh (65) and Bengaluru’s M Dharma (67) at 11-under-129. Yuvraj ended the day with a flourish as he birdied the last four holes.
Defending champion Aman Raj of Patna was placed tied 19th at six-under-134 while PGTI Order of Merit leader Rashid Khan occupied tied 40th place at three-under-137. Indian star Jyoti Randhawa withdrew from the tournament due to a neck injury. All the Jaipur-based golfers in the field failed to make the cut.