Greater Noida: Thai Chinnarat Phadungsil went down like a lead balloon as his compatriot Chapchai Nirat went from strength to strength on day two of the 1.8m-euro Avantha Masters here on Friday. Phadgungsil, who shot a career-best 11-under 61 Thursday, came up with a pathetic 74 but Chapchai and China's Liang Wenchong shot a second successive 66 to share the lead.
On a day when the wind was not half as ferocious as it was on Thursday, nothing exceptional came off most Indian golfers in the fray. Rahil Gangjee shot a 66 to keep himself in the hunt taking his overall score to 9-under. 2012 Rolex Rookie Golfer of the Year Abhijit Singh Chadha, who was in joint second with a 66 after the first round, flagged a bit with a 69 and joined the tied 7th spot at 9-under with Gangjee. Jeev Milkha Singh also came up with a 69 to share the tied 20th spot with Anirban Lahiri and Gaganjeet Singh Bhullar.
Chawalit Plaphol, David Drysdale, Tommy Fleetwood and Joonas Granberg were tied for 3rd spot at 10-under. Ryder Cup winning captain Colin Montgomerie, Italian Eduardo Molinari and India's Shiv Kapur were the high-profile departures on Thursday.
Chapchai was extremely satisfied with his round. "Yes. I played very well indeed. This is a very long course and I managed to hit the balls long the last two days. I also managed to hole several long putts as well and luck did play a part in getting me to my position today."
"He [Chinnarat] didn't repeat that performance today but I'm sure he'll bounce back during the weekend," Chapchai offered sympathy for his compatriot.
Liang, meanwhile, credited his long putting for his joint lead. "I played one of my best golf this week and I managed to hole several long putts. The birdie on the last was especially satisfying as I managed to hole that putt from about 30 feet. Although I got two bogeys, I couldn't have asked for a better round."
Gangjee, who has spent two seasons on the Nationwide Tour in the USA, said, "I've hit it close on both days. I converted a few more putts today as compared to round one. I sank a dramatic 50-footer for birdie on the third where the ball hit the hole, jumped out and fell in.
"There were no destructive shots today. I made a couple of decent par saves on the 11th and first. I found the left bunker on the 11th and the left rough on the first but recovered well on both occasions. The par saves kept the momentum going for me. I know if I keep it in play, I'll have a great chance of picking up birdies."
Jeev, who has had a horrible time with his finger injury of late, too sounded pleased with his round. "It was a solid round. I finished well today unlike round one. The big positive is that I'm improving with every round. I shot three-under yesterday and went one better with four-under today.
"I birdied all four par-5 holes and birdied the tough par-3 17th. The bogey on the 13th came as a result of finding the bunker. I'm alive and well-placed ahead of the weekend and will try to play aggressive golf over the next two days."