Indians to the fore: Thomas shoots day's best of 64 in Singapore
Singapore, Oct 5 (PTI) Rayhan Thomas brought home the day's best card of 6-under 64 in the 120-player field as Indians shone in the second round of the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championships at the New Tanjong Golf Course here Friday.
Thomas' 64 was also the best-ever by an Indian at AAC event in 10 years.
Three of the day's six best cards were from the Indians. Besides Thomas, two other Indians shot 4-under 66 each to ensure three Indians in the Top-15 of the elite event, which sends the winner to the Masters and The Open next year.
Five of the six Indians made the cut.
Left-handed Kartik Sharma, who plays at the DLF, had a bogeyfree 66 to be the best Indian at 3-under 137 and Tied-12th.
Thomas (74-64), who improved his first round by 10 shots, is 2-under 138 alongside Yuvraj Sandhu (72-66), whose coach Jesse Grewal also trains Shubhankar Sharma and Ajeetesh Sandhu. Both Thomas and Sandhu, who plans to turn pro immediately after this week, are Tied-15th.
While Kartik is five behind co-leaders Cheng Jin (67), the 2015 AAC Champion, and Philippines Lloyd Jefferson Go (67), Thomas and Sandhu are six behind.
"Five or six shots is gettable," said a confident Sandhu.
"I will turn pro next week, unless I win over the next two days, in which case I must stay amateur to play the two Majors."
Two other Indians making the cut were Kshitij Naveed Kaul (69-76) in Tied-50th place and Ahmedabad-based Varun Parikh (73-73) holed a crucial birdie on Par-3 17th to squeeze inside the cutline which fell at 6-over 146.
Kaul was penalized one shot for slow play but he smiled and took it in his stride as a "learning". The only Indian to miss the cut was Delhi's Vinay Kumar (74-74).
Kartik's father, Sunil Sharma, is an Armyman, and he is coached by his elder brother Rupak, who after playing golf earlier on, is a full-time engineer.
"After my first round 71, I spoke to my brother and he told me a couple of things about my swing and they worked well. I hit the ball good and putted well, too. But I did miss a few inside 10 feet. Happily I was bogey-free."
Dubai-based Thomas, who won a pro event in the Middle East while being an amateur, said, "I was upset with my round yesterday, but I also knew that I had a low round in me. I have been swinging very well recently and it was just a matter of some putts falling in."
Thomas, six behind, feels he still has a chance to win the event.
"After 4-over start on Day 1, I have at least given myself a chance. I made some good putts today, but I hit the ball solid. An early birdie on the 11th hole (after starting from 10th) was very good because that pin was tough. That got me going. It was also good to get a birdie on my last hole (the ninth, from seven feet) because I missed my birdie chances on seventh and eighth," he said