Chiragh, Gangjee, Rai make cut; Jeev, Chowrasia miss out
Singapore: Jeev Milkha Singh and SSP Chowrasia were the most notable casualties as 13 of the 16 Indian golfers in fray missed the Singapore Open cut after a rain-hit second round that was completed this morning.
But hardly had the second round ended and the organizers got the third started to make up for the lost time, the heavens opened up again accompanied by the threat of lightning, that forced a further stoppage in play.
Earlier, when the second round finally ended just three of the 16 Indians who had started ensured a tee off for the final two rounds.
On the rain-hit Friday when darkness stopped play, only Chiragh Kumar (70-68) in tied 31st and Rahil Gangjee (66-74) in tied 51st had been sure of playing the last two rounds.
Himmat Rai, a borderline case overnight at two-under, sank a clutch birdie on the 18th to squeeze inside at tied 51st at three-under. His rounds were (70-69).
The two big blows for the Indians was Jeev Milkha Singh (66-75) and SSP Chowrasia (70-73) missing the cut with a bunch of bogeys on Saturday morning.
Other Indians missing the cut and having an early weekend were Shiv Kapur (72-69), Digvijay Singh (73-68), Gaganjeet Bhullar (73-69), Anirban Lahiri (69-73), Mukesh Kumar (73-73), Rashid Khan (73-73), Sujjan Singh (78-71), Gaurav Ghei (78-73), Ashok Kumar (74-78) and Manav Jaini (80-74) and Jyoti Randhawa, who was two-over for the tournament with two more holes to play.
Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano lit up the Tanjong course with a 10-under 61 to open up a three-shot lead upon the completion of the second round.
Fernandez-Castano, a four-time winner on the European Tour, played his remaining nine holes on the easier of the two courses at Sentosa Golf Club in 30 to lead on 15-under 127.
Italian Ryder Cup star Edoardo Molinari signed off with a 68 at the tougher Serapong course in the co-sanctioned Asian and European Tour event to join James Morrison of England on 130.
Even as Chiragh made a good move up, the other Indians fell down fast on the leaderboard. Rahil Gangjee, fifth after the first round, struggled through five bogeys and two birdies in his 74 and dropped to three-under at tied 44th.
Things were worse for the other Indians, as even Jeev was three-over through 12 holes and at a total of two-over at this stage, he was flirting with danger of a missed cut, which could come at either two or three-under.
Jeev had a roller-coaster of a morning. Coming back to finish his remaining seven holes, he had three birdies and four bogeys and no pars.
"I just could not get anything right today," said a disappointed Jeev, who travels to Johor next week.
Chowrasia who was two-under when play was stopped on Friday, needed one birdie to come inside the cut line. He failed to get any till he reached the 18th, where he had to be aggressive. His second shot landed on the edge and rolled into water and he ended with a double bogey seven and exited.
"I`m playing well but today I hit a few drives left. Otherwise my game was okay. I stopped at the 11th yesterday and I was two under. I had good feel this morning. I was thinking of making a few birdies as I knew the cut was three-under but my driving was off. That`s okay, there`s next week still to come (Iskandar Johor Open)."
On the question of Order of Merit, he added, "I think I`m still number one now. Maybe I`ll try again next week. Let`s see. I`ll work a bit on my swing this weekend. My drive is going one way, just left. I`ll go to the driving range and make some changes."
Chowrasia leads Tetsuji Hiratsuka and Siddikur in the Asian Tour Order of Merit, but by the end of the week, things could change, if any of the Asian Tour players finish in top-three. Juvic Pagunsan of the Philippines, who is outside top-40 is lying fourth at the midway stage.
Juvic Pagunsan of the Philippines remained as the highest ranked Asian in fourth place after completing his second round on Friday, which was disrupted for nearly three hours because of a thunderstorm.
American world number 11 Phil Mickelson, who will be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame next year, was going strong at six-under for the round at the Serapong before disaster struck on the closing par-five 18th hole when two of his shots found water.