Tour Championship: N Thangaraja storms into halfway lead with a superb 63

Posted on: 28-Dec-2019

Key highlights:

N Thangaraja storms into halfway lead with a superb 63 at TATA Steel Tour Championship 2019

Gaganjeet Bhullar shoots a 64 to rise to tied second along with SSP Chawrasia and Shankar Das

Honey Baisoya fires a record-equaling three eagles during his 68, lies tied seventh

{Press Release}: Sri Lankan N Thangaraja shot a superb nine-under-63 to storm into the halfway lead at the season-ending TATA Steel Tour Championship 2019. The 38-year-old from Colombo enjoys a one-shot lead at 15-under-129 at the Rs. 1.5 crore event being played at the Golmuri Golf Course in Jamshedpur.

Indian stars Gaganjeet Bhullar and SSP Chawrasia produced scores of 64 and 67 respectively to take a share of second place at 14-under-130 along with Kolkata’s Shankar Das (66).

N Thangaraja (66-63), lying tied ninth and four off the lead after round one, was in fine ball-striking form and hit his 3-wood tee shots with precision to go error-free on a relatively windier day which also saw the sun emerge for the first time this week.

Thangaraja, a three-time winner on the PGTI, was off to a blazing start as he claimed birdies on the first four holes with all his putts being within three feet. Thereafter, he came up with a splendid approach from 230 yards on the par-5 ninth that set up a four-feet eagle conversion.

Thanga’s ascent up the leaderboard continued on the back-nine as he landed it within three feet on the 12th, 14th and 18th to pick up three more birdies.

Thangaraja, currently in 17th place on the PGTI Rankings thanks to his four top-10s this season, said, “I was exceptional with the 3-wood today as I’ve been this whole season. It is my biggest strength as of now. I’m hardly using the driver on the tee. I had a lot of control with the 3-wood today and that helped me score well.

Gaganjeet Bhullar (66-64), who like Thanga, was also in tied ninth and four off the lead after round one, came up with a classy eight-under-64 on day two to rise to tied second. The Kapurthala-based Bhullar, a winner of 10 international titles, made an early eagle from 40 feet on the third to set the tone for the rest of his round.

Bhullar said, “Today the eagle at the start gave me a lot of momentum and confidence. Thereafter, it was smooth sailing since I hit almost all fairways and gave myself a lot of birdie opportunities. My goal was to keep the ball in play and try to attack all flags and I executed that plan well today. I expect to continue in the same manner over the next two days.

SSP Chawrasia’s (63-67) round of 67 was also a flawless effort. SSP, lying overnight second and one off the lead, began the day with birdies on the first two holes. He then added three more birdies to his card to be in a three-way tie for the second spot.

Delhi’s Honey Baisoya, who carded a second round of 68 to be tied seventh at 11-under-133, became only the fourth player on the PGTI to make three eagles in a single round. The three players who have previously made three eagles in a round at a PGTI event are two-time Indian Open champion Ali Sher, Veer Ahlawat and Yashas Chandra.

Interestingly, Veer Ahlawat had also achieved the rare feat at the Golmuri Golf Course during the 16th TATA Open 2017.

Indian stars Jyoti Randhawa (65) and PGTI Order of Merit leader Rashid Khan (70), were both in tied 12th with matching totals of 10-under-134.
Jeev Milkha Singh (69), another star attraction this week, was a further shot behind in tied 19th.

Bengaluru’s Chikkarangappa S, currently second in the PGTI’s money list, shot a 67 in round two to be placed tied 28th at six-under-138.
Jamshedpur’s Karan Taunk was placed 69th at three-over-147.

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