Golf: Former champion Shiv Kapur takes a share of the lead; four Indians feature in Top-10 at Panasonic Open India

Harpal Singh Bedi

Shiv Kapur

Gurugram: Former champion  Shiv Kapur fired  a second straight five-under 67 to  share the  three-way lead  in  the  US$400,000 Panasonic Open India  at  Classic Golf and Country Club near  here on Saturday. The Indian at 10-under shared the lead with two Australians, Adam Blyth (71-63), who is here this week on an invite, and the seasoned Terry Pilkadaris (68-66),

Siddikur Rahman of Bangladesh, who has finished runner-up in this event thrice, was bogey free in his 67 and reached eight-under and was two behind the leading trio. Also at eight-under was Taipei’s Hung Chien-yao (69).Giving Kapur company in Top-10 were three other Indians – Rashid Khan (67-70), S Chikkarangappa (69-68) and Vikrant  Chopra (67-70) at seven-under at Tied-sixth place

As has been announced the  tournament has been reduced to 54 holes. The third and final round will be played from two tees. The cut was  applied  at one-under with 67 players including  30  Indians to the money round

Kapur birdied four in five holes with birdies on third, fourth, sixth and seventh. He again had a birdie on ninth after a bogey on eighth. On the back nine he birdied 13th and parred all others.

It was in 2017  that Kapur  had three wins, two of them on Asian Tour including the Panasonic Open India at his home club, the Delhi Golf Club. He had a third win, the Royal Cup, but it was then not on the Asian Tour schedule. “That (season) gave me a fresh lease but I did not have a great 2018. And 2019 was disappointing till last week,” said Kapur, whose best in 2018 was second at the 2018 Royal Cup, when it came on to the Asian Tour schedule.

“I played really well today. Conditions were tough, it was really, really greasy. The conditions were very different to how they were on Thursday. I had really good control over the ball, hit it beautifully all day. It was always going to be tough to make a lot of birdies but I seemed to come out of firing.”

Kapur made a great par save on second, about which he said, “In a way that gave me the momentum. After that I hit just one poor shot all day which was a six-foot putt on the 14th. The bogey (on eighth) that I made was because I misjudged the wind and the ball came up a yard short and it plugged in the lip of the bunker. Barring that I didn’t really hit any poor shot so I’m really happy at the way I controlled the ball in the wind.”

Blyth had a great front nine with four birdies and he hit returned on the back nine with five-under 31. “I’ve been playing well of late and it was fantastic to see the putts going in today. In the middle of my back-nine, I got hot and went on a birdie run and it was nice to finish off with another birdie on the last”, .

Pilkadaris  hit  four birdies and  did not drop any bogeys. “It was very windy out there today with lots of cross winds which made scoring difficult. But I played nicely, bogey-free, so no complaints.”


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