Singapore: Rahil Gangjee overcame a double bogey and two other bogeys to bring home a second round card of five-under 67 to move to 11-under and tied fifth place at The Championships at Laguna National here Friday.
Gangjee, who completed three holes from his first round in the morning, finished first round at six-under 66.
He was the best among the Indians, while SSP Chowrasia, a city-mate of Gangjee from Kolkata in India, added a second successive 68 to get to eight-under and tied 15th place.
Gangjee is winless since his first and only Asian Tour win 10 years back in his rookie year 2004.
Last week`s winner, Anirban Lahiri showed amazing powers of recovery as he bounced back from two double bogeys and another bogey on front nine to shoot a 70 that included six other birdies and an eagle on par-5 15th.
He had two bogeys and two doubles in a roller-coaster of a round, which brought him to seven-under 137 and tied 34th place. Also making the cut were veteran Jeev Milkha Singh (67-72) and Chiragh Kumar (69-70) in tied 48th place. But Digvijay Singh (68-73), Rashid Khan (72-70), Shiv Kapur (74-68), Himmat Rai (76-68) and Jyoti Randhawa (77-72) missed the cut, which fell four-under.
Meanwhile at the top, Thailand`s Panuphol Pittayarat did not wilt under the tropical heat and continued to take the lead after signing for a four-under-par 68 in the second round.
Panuphol stayed ahead of the chasing pack with his two-day total of 13-under-par 131 even as Australia`s Scott Hend, Korean-American David Lipsky and Chile`s Felipe Aguilar put pressure on him by trailing closely by one shot at the USD 1.5 million event sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour.
Gangjee, who is seeking to end a decade-long title drought on the Asian Tour, got back into the mix after signing for a 67 to share fifth place with Korea`s Baek Seuk-hyun and Denmark`s Anders Hansen.
Gangjee said, "My putting was very good today. I didn`t hit it as well as I did in the last couple of weeks. The greens are really good here and I`ve been putting well for the last two rounds, especially today. I had a few bad drives on holes 16 and 17 which resulted in a double-bogey and bogey respectively.
"However, I managed to recover with birdies on the next two holes after that. It was a good comeback."
Talking of low scores, he said, "I would say the course is rather easy because the greens are in good condition. It was easy to read the lines and the speeds are good. I will keep myself hydrated for tomorrow and have a good rest tonight so I can get my energy up for the next two rounds."
Panuphol said, "The weather is really hot today. The two birdies in my last three holes were nice to end off my round and that cooled me down a bit. I really wanted to make that long putt (on 18) to take the outright lead and I am happy I did it," said Panuphol.
Panuphol has not featured in the weekend rounds since the start of the season and he is delighted with his new-found position on the leaderboard this week.
Meanwhile Hend, a five-time Asian Tour winner, took advantage of his booming drives to remain in the hunt for another victory on the region`s premier Tour.
The Australian, who topped the Asian Tour driving distance category on four occasions in the last five years, was a figure of consistency as he overcame a four-shot deficit to hit the front in the morning.
A total of 72 players made the cut which was set at four-under.