Nitithorn, Sadom lead the foreign challenge chasing Indian leaders
Khel Today Bureau
New Delhi: Defending champion Nitithorn Thippong and Sadom Kaewkanjana, the highest-ranked player in the field, are hot on the heels of the leader S Chikkarangappa of India as the second edition of The DGC Open presented by Mastercard reached the halfway stage.
Nitithorn and Sadom are in the group of five players who are three shots behind Chikkarangappa (68-66).
Both Sadom and Nitithorn finished strongly with three birdies in the last five holes. Sadom carded 5-under 67 and Nitithorn shot 2-under 70 with both of them at 7-under 137 for two rounds, while Chikkarangappa, looking for his first win on the Asian Tour, is 10-under for two rounds.
While Chikka is perched all alone at 10-under 132, there are five players including two Indians, Rashid Khan (67-70), Om Prakash Chouhan (69-68), tied for the second place. The others are Sadom (70-67), Nitithorn (67-70) and England’s Matt Killen (68-69).
Most of the action for Sadom and Nitithorn, as also Rashid, came on the back nine of the Delhi Golf Club, which once again yielded a lot of good scores.
The cut fell at 2-over with 76 players making the weekend rounds. There were 24 Indians, including two amateurs, Yuvraj Singh (69-76) and Shaurya Bhattacharya (71-75).
Nitithorn was thrilled with his finish and said, “The birdie on the last was a great finish and I will some advantage from that for tomorrow. I had a birdie on the first one but after that, my approach shot was not so good and I struggled a little bit. I bogeyed number 10 which took me to one over par. Then I birdied on 14 and 15 and then a birdie again on 18. I struggled a little bit today, but pretty happy about getting back to 2-under, so I’ll take that.”
“My iron play was not so good and it was pretty different from yesterday when I hit a lot of fairways and a lot of greens. But my short game was really good. The course played the same as yesterday, it was not windy also so it was pretty similar to yesterday.”
Sadom, who is playing at the DGC for the first time, was on the money almost all day. He said, “Today my tee shots were pretty good. I missed only 2 greens and had a lot of chances to make birdies. I think everything today was good for me and I will be looking to hit more fairways for tomorrow.”
England’s Matt Killen was having a modest day with two birdies and two bogeys in his first 13 holes. Then an eagle on the Par-5 14th changed things and he added one last birdie on 18th to get to 3-under 69 for the day and was 7-under and tied second for the tournament.
Poom Saksansin, whose three Asian Tour wins include one in Take Solutions Masters in Bengaluru, India in 2017, started from the tenth and had an action packed nine-hole run from the 12th to 2nd. It included seven birdies, one bogey and just one par. He shot 66, the day’s equal best with Chikkarangappa and the Thai who shot 72 on the first day is now 6-under and was tied for seventh.
Justin Quiban, one of the three players tied second overnight, shot 1-under 71 with an eagle, two birdies and three bogeys and is 6-under as is Thailand’s Chonlatit Chuenboonngam (71-67), the impressive young Thai golfer beaten by Australian Wade Ormsby in a sudden-death play-off last week at the International Series Thailand.