Greater Noida: Rahil Gangjee and Abhijit Chadha’s consistency ensured India’s presence in the top-10 but for the second successive day a Thai, Chapchai Nirat, figured among the leaders even as some prominent names missed the cut at the $2.3 million Avantha Masters, here, on Friday.
Nirat and China’s Liang Wen Chong jointly held the top spot with totals of 12-under 132 after returning identical cards of six-under 66 for the second day running.
Gangjee (66) and Chadha (69) were tied for the seventh spot with aggregates of nine-under 135, three strokes off the pace. They shared the position with overnight leader Chinnarat Phadungsil of Thailand whose fortunes took a tumble as he turned in a rather disappointing 74.
The cut was settled at a rather low three-under and some reputed names fell by the wayside. Among the big disappointments was the tournament’s big draw, Scottish legend Colin Montgomerie, who stumbled to a second successive four-over 76, Italian star Eduardo Molinari (70) and defending champion Jbe Kruger (72) of South Africa.
Montgomerie could have ended up at bottom of the heap had it not been for some withdrawals. Shiv Kapur (72) was among the prominent local favourites who would be missing from weekend action. Daniel Chopra (71) and Shamim Khan (66) also missed the cut despite improved cards in the second round.
Meanwhile, it was another fine performance by Gangjee, who had returned a 69 on Thursday.
“I’ve hit it close on both days. I converted a few more putts today as compared to round one. I sank a dramatic 50-footer for birdie on the third where the ball hit the hole, jumped out and fell in,” he said.
“There were no destructive shots today. I made a couple of decent par saves on the 11th and first. I found the left bunker on the 11th and the left rough on the first but recovered well on both occasions,” Gangjee said.
“The par saves kept the momentum going for me. I know if I keep it in play I’ll have a great chance of picking up birdies,” he added.
Chadha could have ended the day tied third but a dropped shot on the 17th pulled him back. With a flawless front-nine, studded with three birdies, PGTI’s Emerging Player of the Year, who was overnight tied second, looked good to go higher up the board but he let it slip in the back-nine, which also included a birdie on the 15th. (agencies)