Noida, April 20 (IANS) Amardeep Malik, playing at his home course, signed for a brilliant five-under 67 to build a two-shot lead at 12-under 132 at the halfway stage of the Delhi-NCR Open 2022 here on Wednesday.
Bengaluru’s Mari Muthu R shot the day’s lowest score of eight-under 64 to be placed tied second at 10-under 134 along with Manu Gandas (69) of Gurugram.
Noida-based Amardeep Malik (65-67) began the day with a birdie on the first and then added three more birdies on the sixth, eighth and ninth for a strong front-nine. Malik landed his approach within two feet on the ninth.
The 36-year-old Amardeep, the overnight joint leader, had a turbulent start to the back-nine stumbling with bogeys on the 11th and 13th where he missed up and downs. However, Malik came roaring back with an eagle on the par-4 15th where he holed his second shot from the rough from a distance of 95 yards. He picked up another shot on the 16th with a 25-feet conversion to close the day with a two-shot lead.
Malik, who has won both his previous titles at Noida Golf Course, said, “It was good to carry the momentum from round one. I’m feeling good about my game. I hit some good shots to begin with which landed close. I lost momentum on the 11th and 13th and was not expecting much after that but got lucky with the hole out on the 16th. The course is playing tough due to the wind therefore it’s not easy to score low. So I’m glad that I’m in this position.”
Mari Muthu (70-64), lying tied 15th and five off the lead after round one, jumped 13 places to joint second courtesy his 64 that featured 10 birdies and two bogeys. Mari Muthu, who excelled with his iron-play on day two, landed it within six feet of the flag through the day.
Manu Gandas (65-69), a two-time winner on the PGTI, dropped out of the overnight joint lead with an eventful round that featured an eagle, four birdies, a bogey and a double-bogey.
Gandas landed his second shot within a couple of feet of the pin for eagle on the par-5 17th. He also chipped-in for birdie on the fourth. Manu was five-under on the four par-5s for the second day in succession.
Manu said, “I didn’t give myself as many chances today but I’m still quite happy with my effort as it keeps me in contention. My judgment of the speed and line on the greens has not been good. I need to work on that. I also feel that the opening stretch of the back-nine is crucial. One needs to score well over there.”
Chandigarh’s Abhijit Singh Chadha (69) occupies fourth place at nine-under 135 while Bangladesh’s Md Zamal Hossain Mollah (70) is a further shot back in fifth position.
Yuvraj Singh Sandhu (72) of Chandigarh, currently ranked second on the PGTI Order of Merit, is in tied 43rd place at one-over 145.