Harpal Singh Bedi
Panchkula: Avani Prashanth returned a superb six-under 66 to climb to the top of the leader board at the end of the second round of the 11th leg of the Hero WPGT at the Panchkula Golf Club here on Thursday.
The cut fell at 15-over 159 and 18 players who made the cut will figure in the final round.
Avani had the poor first round of 76 but she made an astounding 10-shot improvement as she had four birdies on the front nine beginning with one on the first hole and three in a row from fifth to seventh.
She had two more on the 10th and 15th and no bogeys. The highlight was that she picked birdies on three of the four Par-5s as she is now 2-under 142 and one shot ahead of Amandeep Drall and Pranavi Urs.
Despite being an amateur Avani, is having a great season. She won the third leg in Mumbai and has since finished runner-up at the DLF Golf and Country Club in Gurugram in the eighth leg and was again second in the 10th leg last week in Chandigarh.
Amandeep, the winner last week and was placed second after the first day, stayed there with the round of 73 that included a double bogey on Par-4 10th. She had three bogeys against four birdies but at 1-under 143 she is breathing down Avani’s neck.
Pranavi Urs, a four-time winner on the Hero WPGT, slipped to 2 over 74 as she had three birdies, three bogeys, and a double bogey on the Par-5 seventh.
Saaniya Sharma had the biggest swing in scores from the first to the second day as she followed up her first-round 79 with a second-round 66, which was flawless and equal to leader Avani’s card. She, however, had an eagle on the Par-5 third and four other birdies without dropping any shots.
Vani Kapoor (71), Jahanvi Bakshi (72), and Seher Atwal (75) were tied for fifth at 2-over 146, while Rhea Jha (73), Lakhmehar Pardesi (79), and Gaurika Bishnoi (76) were occupying places eighth to 10th.
With just one shot separating the top three, a keen battle is in the offing in the leading group, but right behind them are Saaniya, Vani, and Jahanvi.