Sharma shoots 66 to make 10-shot improvement on first round of Alfred Dunhill Links Championship
Indian golfer Shubhankar Sharma hauled himself back into the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship with a fine second round of 6-under 66 to be tied 72.
Playing at Kingsbarns on a rare dry day, Sharma had seven birdies, including three in the last four holes, to move up after a disappointing after a disappointing 76 in the first round, but his compatriot Manu Gandas (72-75) was way behind in T-143rd place.
Matt Fitzpatrick (67-64) left it until the very last shot of the day to take over the lead. His birdie-birdie finish for a brilliant 64 gave him a one-shot advantage over Scotland’s Grant Forrest (65-67) and Spain’s Nacho Elvira (66-66).
The 2022 US Open champion and Ryder Cup star Fitzpatrick had nine birdies and just one bogey for the best round of the day.
The event is played over three courses, the Old Course, St. Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns and the final round is played at the Old Course as the cut is made after three rounds.
Sharma has not made the third-round cut in his previous three starts at the event. He started on the tenth and birdied 12th, 16th and 17th to get to 3-under before he bogeyed the 18th.
On the second nine, he added a birdie on third and was on fire over the last four holes. He birdied sixth, eighth and nine and finished with 66 and a total of 2-under. It was the best round by Sharma at the Alfred Dunhill Championships.
The cut will be applied after the third round, which Sharma plays at the Old Course, St. Andrews, which will also see the final round.
Gandas, playing his first season on the DP World Tour, had two birdies, three bogeys and one double bogey.
Forrest left the Scottish galleries hoping that for the first time since 2005 they might have a home-grown winner of the Alfred Dunhill Links but despite an impressive 67 on the Old Course to share the lead on 12-under-par with Elvira for a time, they were soon overtaken by Fitzpatrick.
In his 66, Elvira produced one of the shots of the day with an eagle on the 18th hole at St Andrews. He drove the green to within a few feet of the pin and sank the putt.
Fitzpatrick plays his third round at St Andrews, while Forrest and Elvira face the far more intimidating visit to Carnoustie.
Fitzpatrick is coming back after an incredible Ryder Cup week and he is excited about the possibility of another high-profile triumph.
The Championship with a prize fund of USD 5 million incorporates two separate competitions – an individual professional tournament for the world’s leading golfers and the Team Championship in which the professionals are paired with amateur golfers many of whom are celebrities.
Kochhar top Indian in Singapore at Tied 17th in the International Series Singapore golf tournament
Karandeep Kochhar carded one-under 71 in the second round to be placed tied 17th, the top among four other Indians who made the cut in the International Series Singapore golf tournament here on Saturday.
Kochhar, who shot 68-71 in his first two rounds, had two birdies against one bogey as he lies 68th on the Asian Tour Order of Merit. He needs to get into top-60 to get a full card for next season.
Veer Ahlawat, who is a place above Kochhar in the Order of Merit, added a 71 to his rounds of 70-71 to be T-28, while Honey Baisoya (74-67-75) was T-59 and Viraj Madappa (70-71-76) was T-64.
The other Indians in fray Rashid Khan, Gaganjeet Bhullar, SSP Chawrasia, Kartik Sharma, S Chikkarangappa, Ajeetesh Sandhu and Shiv Kapur missed the cut.
David Puig (64-66-66) had built up a massive nine-shot lead over second-placed Korean Jaewoong Eom (69-67-69), while Atiruj Winaicharoenchai of Thailand and Jack Thompson of Australia were tied for third at 10-under.
Andy Ogletree and Taichi Kho were among four players tied for fifth at nine-under.
The 21-year-old Spaniard, Puig, who has shown great potential since turning pro a little over a year ago, is seeking his first win on the Asian Tour and this could be his best chance.
Australian Thompson, this year’s Qualifying School winner, is another one with a good look at the title.