Ahmedabad: Indian golfer Shiv Kapur came up with a sedate one-under 71 on day two to grab the second position at the halfway stage of the Gujarat Kensville Challenge here on Friday. On a day, when India's star cricketer Sachin Tendulkar enthralled the spectators with his visit to the Kensville Golf Country Club, the golfing conditions were much tougher with strong wind and tricky pin positions.
Going out early in morning, Kapur, who had led at the halfway stage last year too, came back as the clubhouse leader, even as most of the field was still on the course. After his flawless five-under 67 on day one, he took his total to six-under but as the day wore on Andrew McArthur overtook him by two shots.
Among others, last year's runner-up Rahil Gangjee (72-69) and 2011 Kensville champion Gaganjeet Bhullar (71-70) were tied sixth at three-under 141 as 19 Indians made the cut which fell at three-over. Young guns S Chikkarangappa (74-73) and Shubhankar Sharma (75-72), who were making their pro debut this week were among those making the cut, alongside veterans Mukesh Kumar (73-71) and Ali Sher (73-73).
The day belong to McArthur who came back with a bogey free three-under 69 to take a two-shot lead. The 32-year-old Scotsman, with one Challenge Tour win dating back to 2008 against his name, is now eight-under 136 for two rounds and three ahead of overnight leader Spain's Agustin Domingo (73), Dutchman Tim Sluiter (69) and another Scot Booth Wallace (71).
The 30-year-old Kapur, who narrowly missed keeping his European Tour card, but will still get around a dozen starts in 2013, started strongly from the 10th. He had birdies at the 12th and 14th holes but came unstuck with a bogey at the par five 17th to reach the turn in one-under.
He picked up a shot at the third hole before missing the green on the par-three eighth hole and failing to get up and down for par to finish with a 71. Wiping the sweat of his forehead on a rather warm day, Kapur wistfully added: "I had a chance to pull away from the field but I'm still right there."
"I did not really have my A game today," said Kapur. "I didn't play as well as I did on the first day. It was a bit scrappy and didn't hit it as close and made some soft bogeys. It (the round) was blemish free until the 17th and I was playing steady but nothing flashy. It was one of those days where I had to make the best of what I had."
About the way the course has played, Kapur said, "It's the kind of course where you have to be on your game to perform and I didn't quite have everything in there but I'm still in the mix and that is what's important, it's about getting off to a good start and I'm pretty happy with the position I'm in."
Gangjee, who played with Kapur, said, "I hit the ball and putted much better than the first day and that was the difference between the two rounds. I am just trying to focus on the positives and it helps like the big putt on the seventh.
"I had a great 30-35 footer on the seventh, just like yesterday for a birdie. The greens are very firm and will likely become firmer over the weekend." After a 71 on first day, Bhullar added a two-under 70 on Friday that had two bogeys on sixth and eighth but he also had four birdies.
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