Osaka (Japan): Rahil Gangjee played one of his best rounds in a long time to place himself Tied-second behind Japan's Rikuya Hoshino (68) at the Panasonic Open Golf Championship on Friday.
Gangjee, whose lone Asian Tour win came 14 years ago, is now 8-under with rounds of 69 and 65 at par-71 Ibaraki Country Club.
Gangjee, two behind Hoshino, is tied with five others including Japanese legend Shingo Katayama (64-70) at 8-under.
Ajeetesh Sandhu (69-69) is the next best Indian at T-15, while others making the halfway cut were Arjun Atwal (72-69), Shiv Kapur (70-71) and SSP Chawrasia (69-72). They were T-48th and right on the cutline which fell at one-under 141.
The Indians, who missed the cut included Khalin Joshi (71-71), S Chikkarangappa (68-75), Jyoti Randhawa (75-69), Gaganjeet Bhullar (73-74), Rashid Khan (74-77) and Chiragh Kumar (77-74).
Gangjee, 39, posted the day's lowest score of 65 and said, "Today was like a dream round, considering I haven't been playing that well for the last year and a half! I made a lot of putts and hit some decent shots too. I had no expectations. When I played my first practice round with Arjun, there were no birdies in nine holes so we were not expecting much from this golf course."
"But, when I went out there and made eight birdies today, that was something. I've not been in this position for years and I guess I have to keep my tempo down as I've been going hard at it recently," he added.
Gangjee, who has not featured in the weekend rounds all year, sprung a surprise even on himself by marking his card with eight birdies at the event, sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour Organisation (JGTO).
The 21-year-old Hoshino will enjoy a two-shot cushion heading into the weekend rounds with his two-day total of 10-under-par 132 but has to be wary of a host of players bunched in tied-second place.
62 players progressed into the weekend rounds with the cut set at one-under.
Rikuya Hoshino is still searching for his first win on the JGTO. He has won once on the JGTO Challenge Tour in 2017.