Indian Open golf: Veer Ahlawat top Indian at tied 6th on rain-truncated day | Golf News

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In its last seven editions going back to 2015, ever since the Hero Indian Open has been a European Tour (now DP World Tour) event, the cut score has never been under par. As play resumes on Saturday, after rain and warnings of a thunderstorm curtailed play late on Friday, that may well be the case.

On what has had a reputation for being one of trickiest courses on the tour, the DLF Golf and Country Club in Gurugram – especially in sunny morning conditions – has aided low-scoring, aggressive golf for most of the opening two rounds. So much so that Norway’s Espen Kofstad broke the single-round course record by shooting a 10-under 62 on Friday.

Last year’s champion Marcel Siem had shot an impressive 14 under par to lift the title here, but at the halfway stage, Japan’s Keita Nakajima has already matched that after shooting seven-under 65s on successive days – inclusive of an impressive final hole eagle on Friday – to take the lead.

France’s Romain Langasque and Italy’s Matteo Manassero follow in second and third at 12 and 11 under par respectively.

With less wind, and the greens not as hard as in previous years, players explained how they were able to go for the flag with more ease – and perhaps more importantly, got away with a couple of stray shots.

“The wind is really less this year and then the greens are really soft. So, even if you end up missing it on the wrong side, you still have a chance to make a par if you hit a good chip,” Veer Ahlawat, highest-placed Indian at tied-sixth, said.

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“The biggest difference from what I have heard is that the greens are very soft compared to last year when they were firm. That helps because when you have a wedge in your hand you can go straight at the pin. Even when you miss the green you can make an up and down if you play a good chip,” Langasque concurred.

Despite the benign conditions though, as things stand with 46 players yet to complete their second round, only 8 Indians are slated to make the cut. 16 did so last year.

Chief among the handful of Indians that took advantage was Ahlawat, the joint-highest-placed Indian at the Indian Open last year, finishing tied-13th. He followed up his steady opening round with a free-wheeling six-under 66 to notch a score of nine-under par.

The 30-year-old was able to ride on his ball-striking consistency on his home course that rewards accuracy over distance. His eagle at the fourth hole may be his highlight of the day, but hitting only one bogey, he kept his cool throughout.

Manu Gandas, another DLF golfer, also shot seven-under par to take him to tied-16th, alongside Karandeep Kochhar who hit a two-under 70 on Friday. Gaganjeet Bhullar (five-under) is tied-22nd while Rashid Khan is tied-31st alongside India No. 1 Shubhankar Sharma, who is four-under with two holes of his second round to go.

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