Ahmedabad, Feb 24 (IANS) Young guns Manu Gandas and Yuvraj Singh Sandhu hogged the limelight in round two of the Glade One Masters here on Wednesday. Both 24-year-old players, searching for their maiden wins on the PGTI, have been knocking on the doors of victory for some time.
While Manu Gandas (35-30) of the DLF Golf & Country Club, Gurugram, produced a fiery bogey-free six-under-30 featuring five straight birdies to seize the halfway lead at seven-under-65, Yuvraj Singh Sandhu (34-32) of Chandigarh was a close second at six-under-66 after he shot an impressive four-under-32 at the Glade One Golf Resort.
The four players bunched together in tied third place with totals of four-under-68 were Bengalureans Khalin Joshi (34) and Trishul Chinnappa (34), Faridabad-based Abhinav Lohan (34) and Om Prakash Chouhan (33) of Mhow.
The cut was applied at two-over-74. Fifty-six professionals made the cut.
The unique format for the tournament is as follows. The first two rounds consisted of nine holes each. The cut was applied after 18 holes. The third and fourth rounds will now comprise 18 holes each. The tournament will be played over a total of 54 holes.
Manu Gandas, one of India’s leading amateurs before he turned professional in 2015, struck a purple patch on Wednesday as he produced five straight birdies from the second to the sixth thanks largely to a hot putter since he sank three birdie putts from a range of 12 to 20 feet on the stretch. He also had two quality up and downs during this phase on the second and fifth. Gandas finally signed off with another 15-feet birdie conversion on the ninth. Manu thus zoomed to the top gaining eight places from his overnight tied ninth.
Gandas, who began the day two behind the lead, said, “I’ve had two top-10s since the resumption of the tour in November last year so the game is in good shape. My much-improved ball-striking can be credited for this consistent run.
“When one plays just nine holes in a round, one tends to be more conservative as there is no room for comebacks or much margin for error. I also began the day with that mindset. But I kept creating chances and the putts kept rolling in for me today. I converted all my opportunities on the greens. I didn’t make any errors like I did in round one.
“In the first round I had an early bogey and double-bogey but came back well with three birdies on the last five holes. My putting began to click towards the end of round one as I sank 10 to 12 footers on the eighth and ninth. I continued my good putting form today.”
Yuvraj Singh Sandhu, the 2019 PGTI Feeder Tour Order of Merit champion, had an edgy start as he bogeyed the first with a missed up and down. Yuvraj, lying tied third and one off the lead after round one, continued to miss opportunities over the next few holes as his 10-feet putts for birdie didn’t find the hole on the second, third and fourth.
Sandhu’s fortunes changed from the fifth onward where he chipped-in for eagle from 20 yards. He sank two long birdies on the sixth and seventh from 10 to 20 feet. On the eighth, a great approach helped him set up a five-footer for his last birdie of the day.
Yuvraj said, “At the start of the day I thought my putter was cold. I was also not feeling my best and had a sore back due to playing in totally different conditions over the past two weeks. But then my putter just seemed to wake up after my eagle on the fifth.
“I’ve had a good run since the resumption of the tour in November having posted three top-10s. My improved fitness and my post round drills have given me the reassurance of staying in rhythm. I feel I’m close to winning since I have the game. I just need to calm down a little.”
Abhinav Lohan holed out from 106 yards for his eagle-two on the third during his round of 34.
C Muniyappa of Bengaluru had a hole-in-one on the seventh during his round of 33 that placed him tied eighth at two-under-70.
Round one joint leaders M Dharma (38) of Bengaluru and Anshul Patel (41) of Ahmedabad slipped to tied 14th at one-under-71 and tied 43rd at two-over-74 respectively.
The other two Ahmedabad-based professionals who made the cut were Shravan Desai and Jay Pandya, both tied 28th at one-over-73.