Sri Lankan N Thangaraja took a solo lead in the second round of the Tk 50 lakh second City Bank American Express Chittagong Open with a flawless five-under-par 67 at the Bhatiary Golf & Country Club on Thursday.
Bangladesh’s Md Sajib Ali kept the flag flying high for the host nation when he carded four-under-par 68 to be placed tied second at total 11-under-par 133 along with India’s Aman Raj, who also struck four-under-par 68.
Thangaraja fired five birdies on the second round that gave him a one-shot advantage at the top of the pack.
The 36-year-old Thangaraja came agonisingly close to making a hole-in-one in the 15th hole where his tee shot landed inches from the pin.
The Sri Lankan once again missed the hole by a whisker with his tee shot on the second.
Thangaraja’s chip-in on the third accounted for his fifth birdie of the day and put him in the driver’s seat.
The two-time winner on the PGTI made six pars thereafter which included an incredible recovery from the water on the ninth.
‘I was really unlucky to miss out on a hole-in-one on the 15th. Initially, I thought I had holed it,’ said Thangaraja.
‘I’m also very confident about my chipping at the moment. I’m constantly going for the pins when I chip. That’s the reason I managed to chip-in on the third today.’
Sajib Ali, one of the four joint overnight leaders, delivered yet another impressive performance to stay in the hunt for the title.
Sajib, who started from the 10th, was not as consistent as he would’ve liked over the first 10 holes as he made four birdies but also dropped four shots.
But the local golfer made a strong comeback on the front-nine with some exceptional wedge shots from a range of 70 to 100 yards that helped him collect four birdies.
‘My short-game wasn’t at its best on the back-nine even though I was hitting it well,’ he said.
‘I was then delighted with the way I fought back on the front-nine. I landed every approach within a couple of feet of the flag on the back-nine,’ said Sajib.
Aman Raj, also a part of the four-way lead on day one, slipped one place to join Sajib in tied second.
India’s Veer Ahlawat, who made two eagles en route his 66, the day’s joint best score, was placed fourth at nine-under-par135.
Bangladesh’s Md Ismail returned a 70 which featured an eagle, two birdies and two bogeys, to be placed fifth at eight-under-par 136.
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