New Delhi: Twelve birdies, a double bogey and 23 pars. That’s two-day tally no one will sneeze at on a golf course anywhere in the world, and it’s the result of Shiv Kapur’s new-look approach to the game. At the halfway mark of the Panasonic Open India at the Delhi Golf Club here on Friday, the local man held steady in second place, one stroke behind two different overnight leaders, Ajeetesh Sandhu after Day One, and USA’s Paul Peterson after the second day. Clearly, whatever thought process went into his planning the approach to this tournament, it is working for the two-time Asian Tour winner.
Peterson put in the hot round of the day, matching Sandhu’s eight-under par blitz of Thursday but that was only after another local star, Shamim Khan had briefly held the lead before losing it on the back of two bogies on his back nine. A three-time winner here, Shamim is most certainly in the mix at nine-under 135.
A further shot behind, on eight under 136s are two Kolkatans. The better known of the two is also a three-time winner here besides being a double Indian Open champion. And keeping Shiv Shankar Prasad Chawrasia company is his relatively anonymous Royal Calcutta Golf Club colleague, Divyanshu Bajaj, who has matched Kapur for steadiness with two rounds of four under par 68s.
But it was the Peterson-Kapur show on the day. While the former returned a bogey-free 64 with four birdies across each nine, Kapur wobbled briefly with his double bogey, but it was solid golf otherwise. “I am not putting any pressure on myself,” Kapur said later. “After 36 holes I am bogey free. I just had a double. “To be honest, I couldn’t have imagined myself leading. I wouldn’t say my preparation was ideal but anytime you tee up in a tournament you feel you have a chance to win.”
On his second round, Kapur added, “A little bit of tired legs, a few loose swings on the back nine. I got away with some of them, didn’t get away with some others. I’ve played 35 really good holes and one double bogey on the third and I have had 12 birdies. I think it is pretty solid two rounds.”
Though Peterson is playing the Panasonic Open for the first time, it is third time out at the DGC after the 2015 and 2016 editions of the Indian Open. “The DGC has a spooky feel about it. When you see the fog from one end, it is dark and it has a very cool vibe about it. I love that and it is fun playing here.” Shamim, who scorched the front nine with a five-under 31, even led for a while at 11-under. Then came his two bogeys and a par that seemed like a shot lost, and he dropped to nine-under.
Overnight leader Sandhu (73) was the only player with an over-par score in the top-20 and he dropped to T-6 alongside Honey Baisoya, who in the last 12 months has won four times on the PGTI. Rahil Gangjee, Manu Gandas and Abhijit Singh Chadha came closest to Peterson on the day, with five under 67s, but are all well off the pace in the overall scheme of things.