Rashid Khan and Shubhankar Sharma shot contrasting second rounds of two-under-70 and one-over-73, respectively, but both managed to keep Indian hopes alive at the halfway stage of the Indian Open at the DLF Golf & Country Club in Gurugram on Friday.
Two-time Asian Tour winner Khan and two-time European Tour winner Sharma were the best-placed Indians at the end of round two at tied 19th with a tally of two-under-142. The duo trailed the leader Julian Suri of the US by eight shots at the $1.75 million event.
PGTI member N. Thangaraja (71-70) of Sri Lanka returned a two-under-70 to end the day in tied 12th place at three-under-141. He gained 16 places from round one.
The cut was declared at two-over-146. Seventy professionals made the cut. Out of a total of 37 Indians, eight made the cut.
Khan (72-70) made significant gains in round two as he climbed 27 spots from his overnight tied 46th position after mixing four birdies with two bogeys for a 70.
Khan, a winner of two events on the PGTI tour in the last four months, reaped the reward of getting some good practice at the Kalhaar Blues & Greens course in Ahmedabad last week that prepared him well for the daunting challenge at the DLF course.
Sharma (69-73) slipped 12 spots on Friday after a sedate 73 that saw him make two birdies and three bogeys. After a consistent first round, Sharma, the 2018 European Tour Rookie of the Year, made a flying start in round two with a birdie on the first.
However, his putting let him down thereafter as he dropped bogeys on the fourth and eighth and found it hard to recover subsequently.
S. Chikkarangappa (70) and Rahil Gangjee (74) were the next best Indians in tied 41st at even-par-144. Ajeetesh Sandhu (71) was a further shot back in tied 53rd.
The trio of Gaganjeet Bhullar (74), Gaurav Pratap Singh (73) and two-time Indian Open champion S.S.P. Chawrasia (72) also made it to the weekend as they totalled two-over-146 to be placed tied 61st.
The prominent Indian names that missed the cut were 2015 champion Anirban Lahiri (four-over-148), Shiv Kapur (four-over-148), Khalin Joshi (five-over-149) and Jyoti Randhawa (six-over-150).
Om Prakash Chouhan (four-over-148) made a hole-in-one on the fifth and was looking good to make his place in the top 20 but had a disastrous closing 18th where he made a quadruple-bogey (9) after finding the hazard thrice. He thus missed the cut by two shots.