Jyoti Randhawa and Abhijit Singh Chadha were among the four Indian golfers who made the cut in the Mauritius Open at Bel Ombre on Friday.
The seasoned Randhawa as well as the in-from Chadha were both five-under at the end of the second round of this €1 million event co-sanctioned by the European, Asian and Sunshine Tours at the stunning Heritage Golf Club.
The award-winning course has the Indian Ocean on one side and mountains on the other. The 47-year-old Randhawa and the 28-year-old Chadha were tied 35th along with five other participants.
Udayan Mane and Viraj Madappa, tied 56th at three-under, were the others to have made the cut. As many as 17 Indian golfers teed off on the opening day of the tri-sanctioned event’s fifth edition, being hosted in the Indian Ocean’s best golf course.
Randhawa and Chadha were seven shots off the pace and expressed optimism of climbing up the leaderboard in the weekend. In his sixth career European Tour start, 25-year-old Scottish rookie Calum Hill fired a superb eight-under 64 to take a one-shot lead after the second round.
Hill moved to 12-under for the tournament after he carded the best round of the day that included nine birdies and a bogey.
Following the Scot was an impressive group of players in Rolex Series winner Brandon Stone, Belgian Thomas Detry and Frenchman Matthieu Pavon, who were at 11 under for the tournament, a shot clear of two more Frenchmen – Benjamin Hebert and Antoine Rozner, American Sihwan Kim and Scotland’s Connor Syme.
Entering the tournament on the back of a third-place finish at the Kensville Open last week, Chadha made six birdies, two more than the opening day, and had it not been for a double bogey on the first hole, he may been in the top-10. “I am definitely going to finish higher than this,” said a confident Chadha after finishing his round.
Randhawa had an eagle on the second hole besides three birdies and two bogeys. The eight-time winner on the Asian Tour felt good with the way he went about his job on Friday expect for putting.
“Really hit the ball well today. If there is anything to be critical I didn’t putt as well as yesterday. Other than that it was good and I was more confident today. All in all, I think it was a good, solid round,” Randhawa said.
He acknowledged that the wind didn’t pick up the way it did on the opening day: “I am happy with where I am right now, something I expected to be around here. Let’s see if I can turn the heat on. And in golf, seven shots (off the leaders) in two days is nothing, but there are good players all around,” he added.
Chadha was also at ease with the way things panned out in the second round. “The course is actually playing easier as you can see from the scores. Wind was not too much of a factor today,” Chadha said.
Asked about the double bogey on the first hole, he said, “That was the only bad drive I have hit in two days. My foot slipped I was really happy with the way I was playing, I knew the birdies would come and I didn’t have to do anything special because I was putting myself consistently 10-15 feet from birdie. Whatever I made I made, whatever I missed I missed.
“But even after that, after dropping three shots, I made three more birdies and I made some good birdies and the back nine wasn’t playing easy, the greens had become hard.”