Mumbai: Rafick Ali Mollah shot a brilliant seven-under 63 in the second round of the Rs 80-lakh prize money Crompton Greaves Open Golf Tournament to grab the lead at the Bombay Presidency Golf Club course on Thursday.
The Kolkata golfer, who shot three-under 67 in the opening round, had a two-round tally of 10-under 130 that left him two shots ahead of last evening`s leader Karanjit Singh Sandhu of Delhi, who fired a 69 to lie in second spot.
Mandeo Singh Pathania of Greater Noida brought in a card of 66 to be placed third at seven-under 133.
Lucknow`s Vijay Kumar and Chandigarh`s Harendra Gupta were tied for fourth at six-under 134. While Vijay carded a 65, Harendra returned a 67.
Fifty-two professionals made the cut at four-over 144.
Mollah had a dream start as he birdied the first, second, fourth, fifth and seventh to be five-under through seven holes.
The 41-year-old then had a relatively quieter back nine with two birdies on the 10th and 18th.
"My putting made all the difference today. I had struggled with the putter in round one. That was not the case today. I sank a decent 12 footer for birdie on the seventh. I was also delighted with my recovery on the 18th. My drive had found the rough on the 18th but despite that I managed to
salvage a birdie on that hole," he said later.
"It`s important to take your chances on the front nine as the fairways are straighter and that presents more birdie opportunities. My strategy for the next two days would be to look for maximum birdies on the front nine," Mollah added.
Sandhu (63-69), the first round leader, shot a 69 to end the day at eight-under 132. He had an action-packed first nine
(10th to 18th), which featured four birdies and three bogeys.
His return leg included a bogey on the seventh and a birdie on the ninth. "My putting was not as good as round one. I made a good birdie on the closing ninth, which is not an easy hole. The pins were tougher today and thus birdies were not easy to come by. I don`t have any score in mind for round three but will just try to hit maximum fairways and improve on my putting," he said.
Top 10 scores: Rafick Ali Mollah 130 (67, 63); Karanjit Singh Sandhu 132 (63, 69); Mandeo Singh Pathania 133 (67, 66); Vijay Kumar 134 (69, 65); Harendra Gupta 134 (67, 67); Sujjan Singh 135 (66, 69); Ashok Kumar 136 (66, 70); Vinod Kumar 136 (67, 69); C Muniyappa 137 (71, 66); Mukesh Kumar 137 (70, 67).