In-form Chopra two ahead; Kapur and Bhullar close behind



In-form Chopra two ahead; Kapur and Bhullar close behind	Noida: Sweden`s Daniel Chopra continued his fine form as he maintained his two-shot lead over local favourites Shiv Kapur and Gaganjeet Bhullar after the second round of the Shubhkamna Champions Tournament, an event hosted by Jeev Milkha Singh, here today.

Following up his eight-under 64 from the first round, Chopra added a bogey-free four-under 68 to get to 12-under 130, two clear of Kapur (66) and Bhullar (67), who are both at 10-under.

Kapur, after a string of five birdies between eighth and 13th, dropped a bogey on the very last hole while Bhullar, who had six birdies and one bogey, had a good par save on the last. Anirban Lahiri (66) was one shot behind at nine-under 135.

The rest of the field was way behind with Mukesh Kumar (71), Shamim Khan (67) and Abhijit Chadha (70) tied at fifth at five-under 139 while tournament host, Jeev (71) shared the eighth place with Arjun Atwal (70) and Anura Rohana (74) at four-under 140.

Chopra had mixed feeling about his 68 that put him two clear, but felt he could have a shot or two better.

"I didn`t make the putts that I did yesterday. I played as well as yesterday, but it is just that the putts didn`t fall. Still it is great to be in contention once again (after Thailand and Johor) and hopefully after finishes in sixth and fourth I can close the year with something better like a win," said the Swede, who is hoping to celebrate his 39th birthday with his first win in 20 months.

"I had a good start again wit a birdie, but had nothing after that till the seventh. And then again there was no birdies till the seventh, where rolled in a 15-footer. I three-putted the par-5 eighth and got only a par. I was getting frustrated, but I told myself to stay patient. I finally got a 15-footer on 15th and then was two-on and two putted on (par-5) 17th for a birdie," Chopra added.

Kapur was disappointed at the bogey finish.

"It was a bad chip and then missed the par putt. Still a 66 is fine and the juices are flowing. I was seven-under after 13, and then missed a short putt. I could have been a couple of shots better," he said.

Two-time winner, Bhullar, who has been India`s top golfer on Asian Tour this season, said, "I was striking the ball well and started fine with a birdie and then had a few pars and then came the only bogey on sixth, where I three-putted after misjudging the speed of the green.

"I birdied the eighth and then two more on 14th and 15th. On the 17th was a good birdie at the par-5. I missed a couple of short putts inside 10 feet, but there`s still 18 holes and a lot of lot of golf to go."

"It will be great to close the season with a win. It is a star-studded field with Daniel (Chopra) on top at 12-under, while Shiv is next to me at 10-under and Anirban just behind at nine-under," he added.

The ebullient Jeev, enjoying his role as the tournament host, said, "I am enjoying myself. I shot one-under and four-under I am not sure where I am on the leaderboard."

Talking of the tournament, Jeev said, "Daniel is up there were Shiv and Bhullar right behind. It is shaping into a great finish."

PTI