Digboi, Assam, November 23, 2017: Pre-tournament favourite Shamim Khan of Delhi shot the week’s best score of six-under-66 to storm into the halfway lead at the IndianOil SERVO Masters Golf 2017. Khan, the 2014 champion, leapfrogged 15 places in the second round as his total moved to six-under-138.
Jaipur’s Vishal Singh, the round one joint leader, slipped to second place at five-under-139 after his second round of even-par-72 at the pristine Digboi Golf Links.
The cut went at six-over-150 with 50 professionals making it to the money rounds at the Rs. 40 lakh event. Digboi’s Dulal Kalowar, tied 45th at six-over-150, was the only local professional to make the cut.
Shamim Khan (72-66), lying overnight tied 16th after a sedate 72, came into his own on Thursday with a top-class 66 that put him in prime position for a second victory at Digboi.
Shamim, currently second in the PGTI Order of Merit and the highest ranked player in the field this week, was off to a slow start in round two as he bogeyed his opening hole, the 10th. The 39-year-old quickly got back into his stride with birdies on the 12thand 13th with some long conversions.
Khan, a two-time winner this year, was in supreme touch on the front-nine as he drained as many as five birdies between the third and the ninth. His best stretch was perhaps the two birdies on the last three holes. He landed his bunker shot within a foot for a tap-in on the seventh and then holed a 21-feet putt from the fringe on the closing ninth for the sole lead.
Shamim said, “It was a perfect day for me as all aspects of my game were sharp. I didn’t play the back-nine well yesterday but today it was a different story.
“I focused a lot on my tee shots and approaches and on staying out of trouble. That worked out well for me. The highlight of my round was sinking the 21 feet downhill putt from the fringe on the ninth. That gave me the outright lead and the momentum for the third round.”
Vishal Singh (67-72) followed up his brilliant 67 in round one with a quiet 72 on Thursday. It was a day that saw him miss a number of short putts, a sharp contrast from his first round.
Vishal said, “My putting was a big letdown today. Nevertheless, I’m still in a very good position and will be looking for a score of about five-under in round three to set it up well for the final round.”
Bengaluru’s M Dharma (72) was in third at four-under-140 while overnight joint leader Arjun Prasad (74) of Delhi dropped to tied fourth position at three-under-141. Delhi’s Veer Ahlawat (70) was also in tied fourth at the halfway stage.
Among the local golfers, professional Dulal Kalowar (76-74) was the only one who made the cut as he totaled six-over-150 to be tied 45th. Kalowar made a crucial five feet birdie conversion on his closing ninth hole to make the cut by one shot.