Chouhan stretches lead to seven shots with a steady 69

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Ahmedabad, Feb 17 (PTI) Om Prakash Chouhan had a relatively quieter second round of three-under-69 but still managed to stretch his lead to a massive seven shots with an aggregate of 12-under-132 at the Gujarat Open Golf Championship, here on Wednesday.

PGTI Order of merit leader Karandeep Kochhar and Tapy Ghai were in joint second place at a total of five-under-139 as both shot scores of 69 and 70 on the first two days of the Rs. 30 lakh event.

Sachin Baisoya fired the day's best score of 67 to be tied fourth at four-under-140 along with Arjun Prasad (72) of Delhi and Kolkata’s Rahil Gangjee (72).

The halfway cut was declared at five-over-149. Fifty-four professionals and one amateur made the cut.

Chouhan (63-69), who teed off from the 10th on Wednesday, had a slow start as he found his first two birdies on the 14th and first holes where he made a good chip-putt and a six feet conversion.

Chouhan, who had matched the course record with his opening round of 63, conceded his first bogey of the tournament on the fourth where he missed a chip-putt after his approach shot rolled off the green.

He then rallied with birdies on the eighth and ninth to make up for some of his lost opportunities earlier on and close the round on a high. The five-time winner on the PGTI had a two-on two-putt on the par-5 eighth and sank a 10-footer on the ninth.

'It was a much better ball-striking day for me as compared to round one even though my score doesn’t seem to reflect that. It was a kind of round that kept the momentum going for me,' said Chouhan.

'Today, I dropped just one bogey so I’m happy that I managed to keep the errors out despite encountering the tougher conditions in the morning session. Playing in the morning here is always tougher as the course plays longer with the absence of tailwind on the par-5s unlike the afternoon session.' Rookie Jairaj Singh Sandhu of Chandigarh, who made a dream debut with a 66 in round one, slipped five spots from his overnight tied second to tied seventh at three-under-141 after a round of 75 on Wednesday.

The others in joint seventh were Kolkata’s SSP Chawrasia (71), Delhi’s Rashid Khan (72) and Bengaluru's Chikkarangappa (72).

Shravan Desai (73) in tied 11th at two-under-142 was the highest-placed among the local golfers. Bengaluru’s Khalin Joshi (75) was also placed tied 11th.