Calcutta: Calcutta’s former Indian Open champion Firoz Ali and Mhow’s Mukesh Kumar stayed ahead of the field at the halfway stage of the Rs 8.5 lakh Cotton City Open golf championship in Coimbatore Thursday.
At the Coimbatore Golf Club Mukesh, who is looking for his third successive victory on the Hero Honda Indian Golf Tour after victories at the Hindu and Hyundai Opens in Chennai, and Firoz returned cards of two-under 70 to open a two-stroke lead at the top at six-under 138.
According to information reaching here, unheralded Mohammed Salim of Calcutta submitted the day’s best card of three-under 69 to tie overnight joint leader Shiv Prakash for the third place at four-under 140. The Kanpur-based Shiv Prakash added an even-par 72 to his four-under 68 round on the opening day.
Another Calcutta pro, Raju Ali, also shot a 69 and moved up to tied eighth place at three-over 147. Veteran Rohtas Singh shot a two-under 70 to take the fifth place at two-under 142, while Ajay Gupta of Delhi and Bhoop Singh of Lucknow were joint sixth at level-par 144.
As many as 51 professionals and one amateur — Coimbatore lad Joseph Chakola — made it to the weekend rounds after the cut was applied at 14-over 158.
Mukesh’s birdie on the ninth was spectacular. After landing in the sand trap he holed his bunker shot from 25 feet. His other birdies came on the fifth, sixth, and ninth holes. That was after he had bogeyed the second and the eighth.