New Delhi: Overnight leader Anirban Lahiri battled windy conditions to turn in a topsy-turvy one-under 71 to be the best-placed Indian golfer at tied second in the Panasonic Open golf tournament on Thursday.
Lahiri, who posted a seven-under 65 in the first round to lead by two-strokes yesterday, dropped three birdies and two bogeys to lie four shots behind leader Mardan Mamat of Singapore at the Delhi Golf Course.
A 10th tee starter, Lahiri, who ended the day in joint second at eight-under 136 with American Ben Fox, dropped two bogeys and a birdie to be one-over after the 15th hole but the Kolkata golfer managed to bring his campaign back on track with a couple of birdies in his front nine.
"The wind was howling from all over the place and the same holes where people were making birdies in the morning wasn`t so easy in the afternoon. The par-fives on the back-nine were playing about 50 to 60 yards longer," said Lahiri, who won the Aircel PGTI Players Championship at Panchkula Golf Club by two strokes last week.
"I really like to know how many players from the top-20 are from the afternoon session. It was tough out there. I`m happy to be where I`m especially on a day like this where it could have been very easy for me to go the other way. I hit a few bad shots and I got a couple of bad breaks but that`s golf. I`m still happy that I managed to scrap out
under-par on a tough day like this. I`m glad that I`m four back and tomorrow`s another day," Lahiri said.
"There`s no pressure. For me, it`s just about me going out there again and play my golf, same thing like I did yesterday. I have to focus on the greens and if I can hole more putts tomorrow, I can put some pressure on Mardan," he added.
While Lahiri battled against the winds, another Indian Himmat Singh Rai made a return to contention with a five-under 67 to move to the fourth position. Himmat picked up birdies at the first, seventh, eighth,
15th but the birdie putt from 25 feet on the 16th hole was one of the highlights of my round.
"My hitting was pretty consistent. I kept the ball in play and hit most of the greens. I grabbed more scoring opportunities today. Most of the pins were tucked away and not very accessible but a few were relatively easier and one had to take advantage of those. I managed to capitalise on the easier pin positions today and putted well," said Himmat, who totalled seven-under 137.
Mardan hit six birdies and an eagle against a lone bogey to lead the pack with a total of 12-under 132 after carding a scintillating seven-under 65 today. "I had a really good start in my front nine and that kept up my confidence. Overall I am very pleased with the way I have putted over the last two days. As long as you don`t make too many silly mistakes on this golf course, it will be okay.”
"I am just going to relax and sharpen my putting. I hope to maintain my momentum for the next two days," said the Singaporean, who won the Indian Open in 2004.
Among other Indians, Manav Jaini scored six-under 139 to hold the fifth place, while one stroke behind was Jyoti Randhawa who fired a six-under 66. Mohammad Islam (68), Mukesh Kumar (71), Rashid Khan (68), Shamim Khan (73), SSP Chowrasia (72) and Ashok Kumar (70) were among the prominent Indian golfers who made the cut.