Delhi lad Rashid Khan equals RCGC record

Delhi lad Rashid Khan equalled the Royal Calcutta Golf Club course record with a phenomenal nine-under 63 to jump to second place from overnight tied 14th on day two of the McLeod Russel Tour Championship here on Friday.

Delhi lad Rashid Khan equals RCGC record

Kolkata: Delhi lad Rashid Khan equalled the Royal Calcutta Golf Club course record with a phenomenal nine-under 63 to jump to second place from overnight tied 14th on day two of the McLeod Russel Tour Championship here on Friday.

Placed fourth on the Rolex Rankings for the PGTI order of merit, Rashid played with a subtle change in techique as he totalled 10-under 134 to emerge frontrunner to retain his Player of the Year title.

Overnight leader Shubhankar Sharma had a round of three-under-69 to be just one shot clear of the 23-year-old Rashid at 11-under-133.

Chikkarangappa of Bangalore, who closed the day in third place at nine-under-135, continues to be another top contender for number one position in the 2014 Rankings.

Indian golfing great and local favourite Arjun Atwal came up with the day's second-best score of 66 to rise from overnight tied 22nd to tied sixth at six-under-138.

Rashid (71-63), a two-time winner on the Asian Tour this year, followed up his sedate opening round of 71 with an incredible 63 to match the course record which was earlier jointly held by American Edward Fryatt and Arjun Atwal.

"It's been a long time and I've forgotten the year... But these 'kids' are really doing well. I'm very proud that our young golfers such as Rashid, Chikkarangappa and Shubhankar are playing so well," Atwal, who carded an eagle and four birdies to jump eight places to be on tied sixth, said.

While Fryatt achieved the feat during his 1997 Indian Open triumph, Atwal equalled the score en route a tournament victory in 2001.

"I had a feeling that I would shoot a six or seven under today since I made some changes in my putting stroke after yesterday's round. These changes seemed to have worked for me as I converted some long putts in round two.

"It's great to equal the course record. I've always done well at RCGC, having won two amateur tournaments here," a confident Rashid said with two rounds left.

Rashid produced a hat-trick of birdies from the fourth to the sixth, landing it within six feet on two occasions.

This was followed by three birdie conversions from a

range of 15 to 20 feet on the ninth, 10th and 13th.

The icing on the cake for Rashid was the eagle-birdie combination on the 15th and 16th.

He hit an accurate three-iron second shot from long range on the par-5 15th to set up his eight-foot eagle putt.

18-year-old Shubhankar (64-69) mixed five birdies with two bogeys to hold on to the lead.

He knocked in three long birdie putts, including a mammoth 35-footer on the eighth, but poor club selection resulted in two bogeys.

"My driving was probably better as compared to round one but my iron-hitting was not that great. I also did not enjoy a good start today," Shubhankar, currently ranked 11th in the Rolex Rankings, said.

Gaganjeet Bhullar and Delhi's Shamim Khan are joint fourth at seven-under-137.

The Kolkata duo of Arjun Atwal and Shankar Das occupied tied sixth place at six-under-138. Shankar (70), currently third in the Rolex Rankings, is also a contender for the Rolex Player of the Year title.

Atwal followed up his quiet opening round of 72 with an error-free 66 on day two that featured an eagle and four birdies to gain eight places from his overnight tied 14th position.

Leaderboard (top 10)

1 Shubhankar Sharma 133 (-11); 2 Rashid Khan 134 (-10); 3 S Chikkarangappa 135 (-9); 4 Gaganjeet Bhullar, Shamim Khan 137 (-7); 6 Arjun Atwal, Shankar Das 138 (-6); 8 Rahil Gangjee, Chiragh Kumar 139 (-5); 10 Anura Rohana and Mithun Perera (both SL), Vikrant Chopra, M Dharma 141 (-3).