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Day 2 of Tata Open Golf: Shubhankar still dominating with a phenomenal 63

Jamshedpur, Dec. 16: Panchkula’s Shubhankar Sharma continued to dominate proceedings at the 15th TATA Open 2016 as he fired a phenomenal second round of eight-under-63 to build a three-stroke lead at 15-under-127 at the Golmuri Golf Course on Friday.

Md Zamal Hossain Mollah of Bangladesh also struck the week’s joint best score of 63 to end the day in second place at 12-under-130 at the Rs. 75 lakh event.

The halfway cut went at one-under-141. Fifty-four professionals made the cut.

Shubhankar Sharma (64-63), the overnight leader by one stroke, established a healthy halfway lead after he produced an error-free 63 on Friday. The 20-year-old Sharma, who went one better than his first round of 64, made an explosive start to the day with birdies on his first three holes, the 10th, 11th and 12th.

Shubhankar had another flurry of birdies on the 15th, 16th and 18th that saw him take control of the round as he moved to six-under for the day at the turn. He had a quieter front-nine with just two more birdies on the fourth and ninth.

“I started really well today unlike round one. The birdie on the opening 10th was perhaps the highlight of my round. I was in a tough position on the 10th having landed my tee shot on the right and was staring at a bogey there as I didn’t have a full backswing for my approach shot. But I recovered really well by landing it on the edge of the green before chipping-in to extract a birdie from nowhere.

“The spell of birdies on the first three holes really got me going. My chipping and putting were top class. I missed just two greens today. It’s always great to fire two good scores at the start of an event. It sets up the tournament for you.

“However, I realize the importance of staying focused despite the terrific start. I want to continue playing with the same aggressive mindset,” said a confident Shubhankar.

Md Zamal Hossain Mollah (67-63), who was three off the lead in tied eighth after round one, zoomed up the leaderboard with an equally impressive 63 that featured nine birdies and a bogey. Zamal chipped brilliantly in round two and landed his shots within five feet of the flag on five occasions to set up birdies.

Zamal, whose last win on the PGTI came at his home course in Dhaka back in 2012, came into the tournament after an encouraging tied 15th finish at the Asian Tour event in Delhi two weeks back.

Zamal, a two-time winner on the PGTI, said, “My game has been shaping up well of late. The top-15 finish in Delhi really lifted my confidence.

I only had two bad holes today. I missed only one green and putted extremely well.

“I’ve been in good positions previously but have not played well on the final day on many occasions. That is something I’m looking to improve upon. It’s now about having a good second half of the tournament.”

Chandigarh’s Abhijit Singh Chadha, who made an eagle-two on the fourth, returned a 67 to be placed third at nine-under-133.

Rolex Ranking leader Shamim Khan (68) of Delhi was tied 12th at six-under-136.

Defending champion Mukesh Kumar (70) of Mhow closed the second round in tied 44th at one-under-141. Among the notable names that missed the cut, were Bengaluru’s Chikkarangappa (even-par-142), local lad Karan Taunk (two-over-144), Delhi’s Honey Baisoya (seven-over-149), who is currently third in the Rolex Ranking.

Jamshedpur’s Kurush Heerjee was the highest-placed amateur after the first rounds. He totaled eight-over-150.

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