Manila: India`s Himmat Rai stayed on course for his maiden Asian Tour title as he added a two-under par 70 to take a share of the lead at the ICTSI Philippines Open on Friday.
With a second round card of 70 and a total of six-under 138, Himmat shares the lead with local Jay Bayron (69) in theUSD 300,000 event held at the Wack Wack Golf and Country Club.
The 23-year-old Indian was on seven-under after 15 holes but swirling winds threw him off track when he dropped his second bogey of the day on the 16th hole.
Digvijay Singh added a 72 to his first round 70 and was placed tied 10th at 142. Other Indians making the cut were Chiragh Kumar (75-69) in tied 22nd, Sujjan Singh (71-74) in tied 34th, Manav Jaini (72-74) in tied 41st, Vikrant Chopra (76-72) in tied 60th.
Amardip Sinh Malik (74-76) and Mandeo Pathania (75-75), however, missed the cut by one.
"It was hot out there and the wind picked up later in the afternoon. The wind was swirling but I managed my shots well to give myself a chance in the weekend," said Himmat.
Himmat hopes there will not be a repeat of last week`s performance, where he was in contention at the Impian Classic in Malaysia on the Asian Development Tour before finishing in tied fifth spot.
"There`s always a huge learning curve in golf and the one thing I took back from last week was how to handle myself. I think I`ve done that pretty well in these two days," added the Indian.
Asked if there was pressure to match his first round 68, Himmat said, "You have to focus and get back into the same rhythm because the adrenalin is high when you are playing well. But there`s no reason why you can`t follow it up if you do the same things and get in the right frame of mind."
"It is going to be me against the golf course. It`s all about managing your own game and I`ll be pleased if I get to do that over the next two rounds," he added.
Rookies Berry Henson of the United States and Daisuke Kataoka of Japan were a stroke back with South African Jbe Kruger, who finished second on three occasions last year.
Thailand`s Panuphol Pittayarat bounced back from two opening bogeys with a solid 69 to lie in sixth place, two strokes behind the leaders.
Bayron fired four birdies against one bogey with the highlight of his round coming on the 14th hole when his eagle attempt from 97 yards out stopped mere inches from the cup.