Angad Cheema takes halfway lead at the TATA Steel PGTI Players Championship

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Panchkula: Local favourite Angad Cheema carded a five-under-67 to emerge second round leader of the TATA Steel PGTI Players Championship at Panchkula Golf Club while rookie Yuvraj Sandhu (Chandigarh) shot the day’s best score of seven-under-65 to move into second place on Wednesday.

Rashid Khan of Delhi, the round one leader, slipped to tied third at seven-under-137 after a round of 71.Mukesh Kumar (67) of Mhow too took a share of third. He gained 14 places from his overnight tied 17th.

Jyoti Randhawa was tied 26th at even-par-144 after he shot a second straight 72.Defending champion N Thangaraja (70) of Sri Lanka was also in tied 26th.

The cut went at two-over-146. Fifty-eight professionals made the cut.

Twenty-nine-year-old Angad Cheema, looking to win his first title since 2013, took his tournament tally to 10-under-134 at his home course to enjoy a two-shot advantage over 22-year-old Sandhu.

Cheema (67-67), lying one shot behind the leader in joint second place on day one, made a terrific start on day two with a 40-feet eagle putt from the edge of the green on the par-4 first hole. A bogey on the fourth didn’t dampen his spirits as he picked up birdies on the next three holes and added two more on the 11th and 12th.

Cheema hit rough weather on the 15th and 16th where he dropped a double-bogey and a bogey respectively. On the 15th he found the bunker and then the hazard while on the 16th his tee shot landed at the base of a tree. However, the tall and lanky golfer, who had an Asian Tour card few years back, pulled it back on the last two holes by setting up birdie putts within four feet of the pin.

“I struck it well and also made most putts today. Looking back I feel that I made just one big mistake on the 15th where I had a chance for birdie. But I’m glad to have closed the round on a high. I know the course well as I play here often so that definitely will be an advantage over the last two days.”said Cheema

Sandhu (71-65) gained 22 spots from his overnight tied 24th. He had a nervous start making bogey on the opening 10th. He was on a roll thereafter as he knocked in nine birdies at the expense of just one more bogey to end up with a total of eight-under-136.

“I’m sticking to my process and not trying to play against the wind. One can’t afford to go against the wind at this course. I feel chipping and putting will hold the key over the last two days. Whoever chips and putts the best will win the tournament.” he said

“I started the year well with a couple of top-20s but then had a bad stretch during the Kolkata and Pune events. But now I feel I’m settling down and my graph is moving up steadily.” he added

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