Gangjee best-placed Indian, Siddikur leads at Indian Open

New Delhi: Rahil Gangjee was the best-placed Indian at the weather-hit Hero Indian Open as he was four strokes adrift of Mohammad Siddikur, who fired a sensational six-under 66 to grab a two-stroke clubhouse lead, here on Friday.

Gangjee, who shared the lead with five others including Siddikur after the opening round, was two-under at the 16th hole to be tied third at the moment in the unfinished second round at the prestigious Delhi Golf Club.

Gangjee picked up birdies at the first, sixth, 14th and 15th holes against a couple of bogeys at the fourth and 16th holes to lie four strokes adrift off Siddikur.

The ace Bangladesh golfer fired his second successive six under to steal the thunder from Thailand`s Chapchai Nirat, who had grabbed the lead early in the day after returning a card of 68 to total 10-under.

Kolkata golfer SSP Chowrsia also brought home an improved four-under 68 to be tied fifth, along with Angelo Que (68) of Philippines after the second round, which started with one and a half hour delay due to foggy conditions and was suspended due to bad light in the evening with 26 golfers still to finish the round. They will come early tomorrow to finish the second round.

Shankar Das too was two-under after the first four holes to total seven-under so far. One stroke behind him were Indian duo of Anirban Lahiri and Sanjay Kumar, who carded 67 and 68 respectively.

One stroke further adrift was Chirag Kumar, who too was stranded at the fourth hole after being two-under in three holes. Shamim Khan was even-par 72 to aggregate four-under.

Shiv Kapur blasted a six-under 66 after a horrendous 75 yesterday to aggregate three-under for two days, while Himmat Rai (69) and Arjun Atwal (70) brought home improved cards to total 143.

Gaganjeet Bhullar, who carded an even-par 72 today for a total of five-over, is set to miss the cut which is likely to be decided at one-over. Among other big names, former champion David Gleeson of Australia (81, 75) and Robert Rock (73,77) of England also are set to fall by the wayside tomorrow.

Chowrasia, a two-time Asian Tour winner, traded five birdies against one bogey to put himself in prime position to win the title, having ended runner-up here in 1999 and 2006.

"I`ve played well at Delhi Golf Club and I have very good memories here. I will keep that in mind when I`m playing in the last two days," said Chowrasia.

"I lost my European card this year so I will be playing in Asian tour and co-sanctioned events next season and also a few tournaments at the challenger tour," he added.

Siddikur, the first Bangladeshi to play and win on the Asian Tour in 2010, took advantage of his straight hitting game and a hot putter, making 27 putts at the venerable Delhi Golf Club.

"I played aggressively again and I`m really enjoying this new style of play. I didn`t do anything exceptional in my game but I`m just enjoying the way I`m playing now. My game was excellent thanks largely to my short game," said Siddikur, who fired an eagle at the first and then picked up six birdies against a couple of bogeys at 9th and 16th holes respectively.

"This course is like my home course! I have good memories here. With the way I`m playing, I think it is time to win. I won`t do anything special but I will continue to play aggressively," Siddikur added.

Chapchai endured a lean spell since setting a 72-hole world scoring record with a 32-under-par 256 in India in 2009 en route to winning his third Asian Tour title.

The big-hitting Thai has been struggling on the greens but turned the corner after reverting to a belly putter in September.

"When I was using my old putter, I tend to open or close the putter face when I putt. That never happens with the belly putter. My scores have certainly improved since I changed putter," said the 30-year-old Chapchai.