Indian golfer SSP Chawrasia rode on his short game to produce a second successive five-under 67 to grab a share of the second place at the halfway stage of the Indian Open at the tricky Delhi Golf Course (DGC), here on Friday. (Click here for latest Golf stories)
A four-time runners-up, Chawrasia was a picture of consistency as he blasted as many as six birdies against a lone bogey to total 10-under 134, just three strokes behind leader Terry Pilkadaris of Australia, who set the course ablaze with a eight-under 64.
Chawrasia gained strokes at the first, fifth and eighth holes with a lone bogey at the fourth to make the turn at two-under. But the Kolkata pro put his putting to good use in the back nine, blasting three more birdies at the 11th, 14th and 16th holes. He shared the second place with Spain's Nacho Elvira, who carded 68.
Two strokes behind were the duo of England's Ben Evans (66) and USA's David Lipsky (67) at eight-under 136.
With three birdies and two bogeys, defending champion Anirban Lahiri (68), who saw at least two of his birdie putts lip-out, brought home a card of one-under 71 today to lie tied 13th.
Rashid Khan and Shiv Kapur brought home improved cards of 68 and 67 respectively to jump to the tied sixth and tied 13th spots at 137 and 139 after the second round. PGTI golfers, Sanjay Kumar and Honey Baisoya, who were inside the top 10 on Thursday, struggled to an even-par 72 to slip out of the top 10 at the halfway stage.
Among other Indians, Arjun Atwal (70,71) and Rahil Gangjee (69,72), Mukesh Kumar (73,68) and unheralded Arjun Prasad (71,70) were at tied 30th at three-under 141. Jeev Milkha Singh (72) carded 71 to lie further down the leaderboard at 143.
Three-time Major champion Padraig Harrington (71,74) of Ireland missed the cut after he totaled one-over 145, while Asian Tour Order of Merit No. 1 Marcus Fraser (74,70) of Australia squeezed in after the cutline was decided at even-par.
Satisfied with his round, Chawrasia said: "My putting was pretty safe, no doubt. Hitting was also not bad, but whenever I got into a sticky situation, my putting saw me through.
"On the 11th the ball went to the left, but there was some space for swing. So I had to shorten the swing, but I managed to find the green. Also on the 17th, I had to putt from the edge of the green to hold par. I hit a good shot, but the tailwind carried the ball over the green. So I had to make an up and down," he said.
"I also made a very good save at the 14th. When I was hitting. I thought I would make birdies, but then I had to a bit of work to get the birdies. The birdie on the 11th was about 15 feet and the one of the 14th was about 14-feet. So I am happy with the way I played.
"My game has been up and down for the last one year but I have stayed positive. Before the start I saw that Terry Pilkadaris has shot a really low score, but I pushed all that out of my mind and stayed focused on my game. 13-under is a good score after two days in tough conditions at DGC and I will have to play well for the next two days as well."
Pilkadaris , who won the Brunei Open last way back in 2005, said: "I felt really good out there and I kept going at flags. I kept giving myself chances and it was nice to take advantage of them. You got to roll with it and don't try to step out of the way and trip on your own feet. Just keep it simple.
"You got to keep it straight. If you are on the fairway then you can give yourself chances. I've played here about 40 rounds at least in the past and the course plays differently every time we are here but it is just a matter of adapting."