Hong Kong: Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri continued to give himself chances as he added a second successive 67 to move to six-under and Tied-5th at the halfway stage of the UBS Hong Kong Open here today.
The 28-year-old, already winner of two joint-sanctioned event at Malaysian Open and Hero Indian Open, drove the ball and hit his Irons well, but once again his putting was the concern.
After bogeying his last hole on the first day, Lahiri was bogey free on the second with three birdies and moved to six-under 134 to be three shots behind former US Open winner, Justin Rose (65-66).
Among other Indians, Jeev Milkha, needing a Top-3 finish to make his card for 2016, was hit by a double bogey and shot even par 70 after 65 on first day to move to five-under 135 and give himself a chance over the weekend.
Tied with Jeev was Gaganjeet Bhullar, who continued his comeback with a fine 66 to go with his 69 on first day and at five-under 135.
Jeev and Bhullar were both tied 10th, while Rahil Gangjee starting the day with bogeys on first and third salvaged the round with 70 at four-under 136 to be tied 17th.
Also tied 17th was SSP Chawrasia, fighting to get his European Tour card back, overcame two bogeys on front nine to finish at 70 and a total of four-under 136. Jyoti Randhawa (70-70) just squeezed inside the cutline, which fell at even par with 76 players making it.
Shiv Kapur (70-72) and Arjun Atwal (73-71) exited at the halfway stage at two-over 142 and four-over 144.
Lahiri, as has been the case most often this year, was the pick among the Indians. He who found eight out of 14 fairways on first day, found 13 out of 14 on the second day.
Lahiri was superb with his approaches on the second day as he missed just one green in regulation compared to his 14 out of 18 greens on the first day. But putting continued to be a concern as he needed 30 putts on the first day and 32 on the second. Yet, he did not have a single three-putt.
He said, "I am playing good, I feel I am playing some of
my best golf in terms of how I am hitting it, but obviously I am not scoring. I am in a good spot and I should have been easily in double digits. I need to get into some putting form over the weekend and then I get into the mix. If I keep hitting like this, then I will give myself some chances."
As for his expectations, Lahiri added, "I expect myself to go out do and best and I feel I can contend but the proof of the pudding is the taste."
On the narrow layout, he added, "I love playing narrow type of courses; it is great because you have to think and navigate your way."
Rose opened up a one shot lead at the halfway stage but admitted he had one eye just down the leaderboard at Ryder Cup team-mate Ian Poulter. Rose followed up his opening 65 with a 66 to get to nine under at Hong Kong Golf Club and establish a slender advantage over Lucas Bjerregaard (66-66) with Poulter (67-66) and Lu Wei-chih (64-69) a further shot back.
Korea's Y.E. Yang was also among the five players bunched in equal fifth place on matching 134 total.