New Delhi: India's Chiragh Kumar raced to a three-shot lead on Friday to put himself in a good position after the second round of the Hero Indian Open.
He battled to a solid five-under-par 67 to retain his overnight lead with a two-day total of 13-under-par 131 at his home course, the Delhi Golf Club.
Australia's David Gleeson, a two-time Asian Tour winner, eagled two holes for 66 to lie in second while Chapchai Nirat of Thailand was a further two shots back in third after his blemish-free round of 67.
Scotland's Ross Bain, Scott Barr of Australia and Nam Young of Korea were tied in fourth place on 137 in the $1.25 million Asian Tour event.
Chiragh, a 2006 Asian Games silver team medallist, surprised even himself after shooting another superb round to lead the chasing pack going into the weekend rounds.
"I really didn't expect to shoot another low number but I'm glad I did. The Indian Open is such a big tournament for us and it has grown tremendously. It is like a fifth Major to all the Indian players," said the 27-year-old.
Chiragh turned in a 34 before adding three birdies on his homeward nine, highlighted by a huge 20-foot par putt on the sixth hole.
"That kept the momentum going as I was able to birdie the next two holes. It was a really good putt," said Chiragh.
Gleeson continued to climb up the leaderboard courtesy of two eagles on holes one and eight which he sank from 10 and 20 feet respectively.
"There are 36 holes to go and I got a lot of work to do to keep in contention. There are a lot of guys who still have a chance to make a charge and get close to winning the tournament," said Gleeson, who finished second at the Macau Open last month.
Three-time Asian Tour winner Chapchai, who holds the world 72-hole scoring record with a 32-under-par 256 total, posted five birdies in a bogey-free round without using a driver.
Dubai-based Bain got off to a fast start when he holed a monster eagle putt on the first hole from 35 feet before turning in a 34. He could not buy a putt on his homeward nine and returned with two bogeys.
"I started like a house on fire which was nice. I'm a bit disappointed not to keep it going. I hit a couple of sloppy shots that cost me a few bogeys. I wasn't as sharp as I wanted to be," said the 35-year-old, who is seeking his maiden Asian Tour win.
The halfway cut was set at one-over-par 145 with a total of 70 players making the weekend rounds.