India's Udayan Mane had an eventful second round with six birdies against three bogeys to rise to shared fifth place after the second round of the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club, here on Friday.
Mane, the best Asian finisher at the World Amateur Championship in Japan and fourth at the Asian Games last month, is now five-under 137 and four shots behind the new leader, Australia's Antonio Murdaca (69-68). Mane was tied 12th after the first round.
Three other Indians made the midway cut. Rigel Fernandes (74-71), the Bangalore-born, who studies and plays amateur golf in US, started on the tenth to have three birdies against two bogeys to move to tied 16th place up from an overnight 30th place while Viraj Madappa (75-73) was in tied 29th place at four-over 148. Aman Raj (78-75) in tied 54th place also made the cut, which fell at 10-over 154.
Two other Indians, Syed Saqib Ahmed (80-76), Manu Gandas (82-76) missed the cut.
The winner of the Asia-Pacific Amateurs gets a start at the Masters besides a spot in the Qualifying for the British Open.
Mane, who has been India's top amateur, could well become only the third Indian after Jeev Milkha Singh (2007-2008-2009) and Arjun Atwal (2011) to play at the Masters, if he wins the Asian Amateur and he is still in the mix just four-behind with 36 holes to go.
Mane teed off from the tenth and birdied it immediately, despite the tough conditions. He gave away the shot on 15th but again went under par on par-5 17th. On the second nine, he was in fine form with birdies on second, third, sixth and eighth, but dropped shots on fourth and ninth for a 69 that put him in a tie with Guan Tianlang, who as a 14-year-old made the cut at the Masters in 2013.
Murdaca, who made the best of the conditions Thursday afternoon with an opening 69, improved upon that round with a 4-under-par 68 Friday to overtake Todd Sinnott, the first-round leader, by a shot.
The prospect of an invitation to the Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club in 2015 plainly appealed to Murdaca, who hails from Adelaide in South Australia and has twice won the Australian junior championship. In fact, his first memory of the Masters is the famous Tiger Woods chip-in on the par-3 16th on his way to a victory in 2005.
At seven-under through two rounds, he leads Sinnott (67-71) by a shot heading into the weekend, with a cluster of Asian players on their heels. Thailand's unheralded Tawan Phongphun (69-71) is at 4-under through two rounds, along with China's Cheng Jin (71-69).
Chinese Taipei's Cheng-Tsung Pan, one of the premier players in amateur golf, is lurking at 3-under after he matched Murdaca's 68, four shots back along with New Zealand's Joshua Munn, who had the day's low round of 67, China's Guan Tianlang (68-73) and India's Mane (72-69).
A total of 66 players made the halfway cut, at 10-over par.