Bangalore: Gaganjeet Bhullar in tied sixth and Shiv Kapur in tied 10th place turned out to be the best Indians at the halfway stage, even as the visiting professionals took centre-stage after two rounds of the Hero Indian Open golf tournament at the KGA on Friday.

Bhullar added a 69 to his first round 68 to move to five-under, while Kapur played a wobbly 71 to be four-under after 36 holes.

The halfway cut came at three-over and a total of 81 golfers, including 21 Indian professionals and five amateurs made the weekend rounds. Local lad S Chikkrangappa (72-68) is among five amateurs who made the cut.

Richie Ramsay of Scotland birdied four of his last five holes to fire a 66 and race to a three-shot lead ahead of three players including Thai duo Panuphol Pittayarat and Chapchai Nirat, and Jaakko Makitalo of Finland.

The bunch in second place all returned matching 68s. In-form Bhullar, who won his fourth Asian Tour title in Macau last week, led the local charge with a round of 69 for tied sixth position and is five shots off the pace.

Bhullar has kept his bid for the title alive as he peppered the greens with acute iron play.

"I felt good and was enjoying myself because I found a lot of fairways and hit a lot of greens in regulation. I'm still looking forward to hitting some low numbers in the next two days," said Bhullar, currently in fifth position on the Order of Merit.

"I had a great start with three birdies on the trot in my first four holes, but then on the second nine, the front side of the course, I had a bit of a wobble that cost me three shots. That left me a lot of work to do over next two days," he added.

Ramsay, a two-time winner in Europe, made 11 consecutive pars after his early birdie on 11 but exploded back on his homeward nine with four birdies including a tricky 25 foot downhill birdie putt on the last.

"It is always nice to hole a birdie on the last. It makes your lunch taste a little nicer," said the 29-year-old.

"The key was patience. I knew I was playing well and hit a lot of good iron shots. If you keep playing that way, sooner or later you will make something. It was a really nice way to finish. I stayed patient and you have to find the fairways and get good angles at the pins. I felt that I could have gone really low if I sank some of my putts," he added.

Panuphol, who is hunting for his first Asian Tour title, played blindly on the last three holes as sporadic rain in the afternoon fogged up his glasses.

The highlight of his day was three straight birdies from 14 including a chip in from 15 yards on hole 15.

"The rain was pouring down and I didn't bring my umbrella, which wasn't smart at all. I was drenched going into the last few holes and the rain started to fog up my glasses! I was playing blindly in the last three holes. I kept my rhythm going so I'm happy with that," said the 19-year-old.

Makitalo, a graduate from Qualifying School, was two-over for the day after 10 holes before a 30-yard chip in eagle-three on 11 turned his fortunes around as he added three further birdies on his way home.


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