Abhinav Lohan and Jairaj Singh Sandhu share halfway lead

Jairaj SinghPanchkula: Haryana-based golfer Abhinav Lohan’s second round of four-under 68 propelled him into the joint lead along with Chandigarh’s Jairaj Singh Sandhu, who shot a three-under 69 on Thursday, at the INR 1 crore Haryana Open 2023 presented by Wonder Cement being played at the Panchkula Golf Club.

Abhinav (67-68) and left-hander Jairaj (66-69), the first-round leader, were tied at the top with identical totals of nine-under 135.

Akshay Sharma, another Chandigarh golfer, continued his hot streak with a second straight 68 to be placed third at eight-under 136.

Besides Jairaj and Akshay, the other Tricity golfer in the top 10 is Angad Cheema who signed for the day’s best score of 66 to be tied fourth at seven-under 137.

TATA Steel PGTI Ranking leader Om Prakash Chouhan too shot a 66 to be placed tied fourth.

The cut went at even-par 144. Fifty-three professionals and two amateurs (out of three) made the cut. Abhishek Kumar of Panchkula was one of the two amateurs to make the cut.

Abhinav Lohan, lying one off the lead in tied second place after round one, moved up one spot as a result of his six birdies and two bogeys on Thursday. Lohan, a silver medalist for Haryana in the individual event at the 2022 National Games, began his day on a high with birdies on the first three holes where he drained a 20-footer and two 10-footers.

Faridabad resident Abhinav, whose home course is the DLF Golf & Country Club in Gurugram, then had a quiet stretch till the 13th as he picked up a lone birdie in exchange for two bogeys. He finally rallied with two more birdies from a range of 10 feet on the last five holes.

Abhinav, a winner on the PGTI, said, “I would say, there’s been nothing spectacular about my two rounds so far. However, I’ve managed to get the job done. I’ve dropped just two shots over the first 36 holes and have been hitting it straight, finding the greens and putting well.”

Jairaj Singh Sandhu continued at the top for the second straight day after a round that featured four birdies and a bogey. Sandhu negotiated the bunkers well and made some quality up and downs on day two to make it to the leader group for Friday.

Jairaj said, “Just like round one, I didn’t try anything fancy and kept it simple. One of my goals for this season was to play in the leader group and I’m happy to have achieved that. I feel, putting is going to be the key over the last two days of this event.”

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