Golf: Perera maintains lead
Mithun Perera of Sri Lanka held on to his overnight two-shot lead after returning a clinical six-under-66 in round two of the PGTI Eagleburg Open at the Eagleton Golf Resort here Thursday.
Perera's total score thus moved to 13-under-131 while Bangalore's Anirban Lahiri shot the day's best score of seven-under-65 to be in second place at 11-under-133.
The cut fell at one-over-145 and 51 professionals made the cut.
Perera followed up his first round 65 with a superb 66 to maintain his lead. The bogey on the 13th was the only blip on his card.
Perera turned it on from the 17th with his first birdie of the round. He went on to pick up another one after a 20-feet conversion on the 18th. He then landed his shots within five feet of the flag for four straight birdies from the fourth to the seventh and another on the ninth. The 28-year-old is now 35-under from his last six rounds.
Perera said: "I didn't have a great start to the day, but I finished well. I've played much better on the front-nine this week compared to the back-nine. The wedges come into play more often on the front-nine and I've played some good wedge shots over the last two days.
"My best shot of the day came on the fifth where I landed my approach within one and a half feet of the pin. The aim will be to play an under-par round on day three so that I can keep the momentum going and set myself up for the final round. This is Anirban's home course and he has the local knowledge. I'll have to play my best to stay ahead."
Lahiri (68-65) climbed from overnight tied fourth to second place after a flawless 65 Thursday. The highest-ranked Indian in the world made three birdies on his back-nine and added four more on the front-nine. He sank a 15-footer for birdie on the 14th and left himself a tap-in for birdie after a brilliant second shot on the fifth.
"My hitting was even more consistent than day one. I didn't make too many putts though. I need to make more 10 to 12 feet putts over the next two days in order to catch up with Mithun who is in tremendous form.
"It seems like a two-horse race right now. Mithun will be a tough competitor as he has the confidence from last week's win and also has a great temperament. This week I got the opportunity to fine-tune certain aspects of my game with my coach.
"This maintenance work on my swing and technique would certainly improve my game further in the coming months," said Lahiri.
Bangalore's R. Murthy fired a 69 to end the day in joint third at seven-under-137 along with Pune's Moinuddin Malak, Vijay Kumar of Lucknow and Sri Lankan N. Thangaraja.
Himmat Singh Rai of the DLF Golf and Country Club was in tied seventh place at six-under-138 along with Delhi golfers Shamim Khan and Manav Jaini and Mukesh Kumar of Mhow.
Sameer M Shaikh of Pune made a hole-in-one on the 12th after his seven-iron tee shot bounced just short and rolled into the hole. Shaikh shot a 73 in round two to occupy tied 36th place at even-par-144.
131 - Mithun Perera (65-66); 133 - Anirban Lahiri (68-65); 137 - Moinuddin Malak (69-68), Vijay Kumar (69-68), N Thangaraja (68-69), R Murthy (68-69).
(Posted on 13-02-2014)
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