Shubhankar Sharma safely sailed into the weekend rounds of the 2020 Abu Dhabi Championship with a two-under 70 but he was not much happy with his iron play and approach shots.
At three-under 141 for 36 holes, he is Tied-37th, while fellow Indian, Gaganjeet Bhullar (79-74) exited early from the tournament, as the cut fell at one-under 143.
Frenchman Francesco Laporta closed with a brilliant streak of five birdies over the last five holes to card a bogey-free 63 and overtook Matt Fitzpatrick whose blemish-free 67 in the morning had set the early clubhouse target.
Just before Laporta finished, Rafa Cabrera Bello carded four-under 68 to add to his first round 67 and joined Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick, who has won once in Dubai at the DP World, and Cabrera-Bello are one shot behind at 135.
“Once again the iron shots did not work well. I did not get close to the pin often enough to give myself more chances. The front nine was a good start that I was looking for. But I needed to hit my irons better,” said Shubhankar.
“The putting was also not the way I liked. Maybe a little rust after the break for more than month, but hopefully it will turn around over the weekend,” he added.
Sharma had four birdies against two bogeys, and he also rued missing out on birdies on three of the four Par-5s. “I need to get those score better. In the first round I missed out on two Par-5s and today I did not birdies on three of them.”
Pranavi Urs wins in Mumbai
Amateur Pranavi Urs made up for her last week’s final hole disaster by winning the second leg of the Hero Women’s Pro Golf Tour at the Bombay Presidency Golf Club on Friday.
Pranavi carded one-over 71 for a total of five-over 215, while Ananya Datar shot 73 and lost by two shots.
Pranavi celebrated her win by turning professional. However, she got only a gift voucher this time, while Ananya, still winless on the Hero WPGT, got a cheque worth Rs 1,50,000 and moved to the top of the Hero Order of Merit.
In-form Pranavi’s turning professional will make the competition more intense. Pranavi had a great start with three birdies in the first five holes, before she dropped a shot on sixth.
On the back nine, she had some nervous moments as she bogeyed three times. Ananya, one of the three co-leaders overnight, was unable to capitalise on that.
On the back nine, as Pranavi made mistakes, Ananya was unable to pull in birdies and played even par for the stretch with one birdie and one bogey.
Pranavi dropped a shot on par-4 12th and another on par-4 14th but Ananya gave away a shot she had gained with a birdie on 13th by bogeying the 14th. At three behind, Ananya still had five holes to put pressure.