Panchkula’s Angad Cheema was in red-hot form for the second day running at the Golconda Masters 2018, a Rs 30 lakh event being played at the Hyderabad Golf Association (HGA) course.
The 28-year-old Cheema, yet to drop a bogey in the tournament, followed up his opening round six-under-65 with an even better seven-under-64 in round two to storm into a commanding four-shot lead at the halfway stage at 13-under-129.
The chasing pack, four shots behind the leader in tied second, consisted of Bengaluru’s Khalin Joshi, who also fired a 64, Gurgaon-based Veer Ahlawat (66), who sank two eagles on day two, the seasoned Mukesh Kumar (66) of Mhow and Ahmedabad-based Udayan Mane (66).
Angad Cheema (65-64) had made a tremendous start to his professional career in 2013 with a victory on the PGTI during his rookie season and an exceptional third place finish on the tour’s Order of Merit. However, Angad couldn’t carry forward the momentum in the following seasons.
But the lanky Cheema has now announced his return to form in style with two rounds of scintillating golf at the HGA which have been highlighted by his enviable conversion rate on the par-5s.
Angad was two-under through seven holes but picked up five shots which included an eagle on the par-5 10th. With an eagle and two birdies he was four-under for the day on the par-5s.
Cheema said, “I’m nine-under on the par-5s over the first two days and that has put me in a great position. I’ve taken advantage of the fact that the par-5s here are short and reachable. The other important aspect of my game has been that I’ve managed to keep the errors out and not dropped any bogeys.
“With my hitting being patchy recently, I’ve put in some work on my swing. The results are beginning to show this week as my striking has been fantastic so far. I’ve not left myself any long putts. I look forward to replicating this effort over the last two days which could give me a good chance of winning after a long gap.”
Khalin Joshi (69-64), who finished runner-up at the Golconda Masters last year after losing to Ajeetesh Sandhu in a playoff, took a giant leap from overnight tied 19th as a result of his flawless 64. His round featured an eagle on the 10th and five birdies.
Joshi, an Asian Tour regular, said, “I felt some stiffness in my back yesterday so I wasn’t at my best in round one. But today I felt much more relaxed and also converted more putts. I feel it’s a terrific comeback after starting the tournament with a double-bogey on the 10th in round one.”
Veer Ahlawat (67-66) was one-over through the first five holes but then produced two eagles, both from long range, four birdies and two bogeys to close the day with a 66. Ahlawat missed out on what could have been an incredible third eagle when his 20-feet putt on the eighth hit the flagstick and got deflected.
Mukesh Kumar (67-66) and Udayan Mane (67-66) also carded scores of 66 to take a share of second place along with Joshi and Ahlawat.
Round one leader M Dharma of Bengaluru slipped to tied 10th after a round of 72 took his total to six-under-136.
PGTI Order of Merit leader Syed Saqib Ahmed, another Bengalurean, was placed tied 32nd at one-under-141.
The halfway cut fell at one-over-143. Fifty-one professionals made the cut. Former champion Harendra Gupta of Chandigarh totaled 143 to make it to the money rounds.