Defending champion SSP Chawrasia, who started the second round in Tied-25th place after finishing his first round this morning, moved into sole leadership by the end of his second round with a bogey-free 67 at Hero Indian Open 2017. But 66 players had yet to finish their second round.
Trailing Chawrasia’s five-under was David Horsey at four-under, while Matteo Manassero, who was one-over through seven holes, is now three-under for the tournament and tied third with Eddie Pepperell who has played only two holes in second round with one bogey and one birdie.
Chawrasia woke up early to get back to the Club to finish the remaining three holes from his first round, put a ball into the water and ended up with a bogey on the closing 18th and carded 72 to be Tied-25th.
Horsey playing in the same group moved from five-under to six-under to be the clear leader at the end of the first round, while the third player in the group, reigning Asia No. 1 Scott Hend (73) was Tied-38th.
Italian Nino Bertasio finished his first round this morning in 67 despite a closing bogey and another Italian Matteo Manassero was third at 68.
But by the time all, except Manassero, had finished their second rounds, the look of the leaderboard had changed dramatically.
Chawrasia missed a few makeable birdie putts but holed a couple of 25-plus feet putts for birdies. Then he missed a two-footer at the finish. Yet he was blemish free with a 67 and had also taken sole lead, as Horsey tripped to 74, Bertasio had ruined his first round 67 with second round 80 and Scott Hend had almost put himself out of the event with a second round 82.
Chawrasia said, “I’m getting a little used to the course now but still learning along the way and trying to understand the course. I haven’t changed anything. I’ll look to play the same way on the last two days. My strategy is to hit straight and putt well. Just keep it simple.”
He said, “The tricky course and tough greens need full focus. It was not easier today but yes it was less windy as compared to yesterday. It’s important to mix caution with aggression on this track.”
“My putter was hot today. I converted from 25 feet and 20 feet on the fifth and eighth respectively. I also had a 40-45 foot conversion on the 14th. The main difference between yesterday and today’s round was that the putts rolled in today unlike yesterday. On the ninth (his last), it was a good putt but just lipped out. These things happen in golf. I’m happy to be bogey-free today. It’s quite an achievement to play bogey-free here”, he added.
Manassero had played just one shot in the second round, when play was suspended and then resumed two and a half hours later and finished seven holes when fading light stopped play for the day.
Clearly Chawrasia loves the name – Hero Indian Open. After four runner-up finishes he finally scaled the peak to win his third European Tour title, the fourth on Asian Tour but his first National Open crown last year. He has since added a fifth Asian Tour title too, in Manila, which was his first outside India.
Starting the second round quickly after finishing the first, Chawrasia birdied the 11th while Horsey birdied the 12th. However, Horsey bogeyed 13th and then both birdied 15th. The Indian had a superb 30-foot birdie on 14th and then both birdied 15th. Despite Horsey’s bogey on 18th, he was still three ahead.
On the second nine, Horsey birdied fourth but dropped a double on fifth, where Chawrasia birdied for a three-shot swing. The gap was still one in favour of the Englishman, before a birdie for Chawrasia and a four-putt bogey for Horsey on eighth reversed the positions, sending Chawrasia atop the leaderboard. Chawrasia then missed a two-footer birdie which would have given him a two-shot lead.
Players still to complete their second round will be in position at 7 am and the third round will not start before 12.30 pm.