Golf - Asian Tour rookies share halfway lead in India

Asian Tour qualifying school winner Chan Kim birdied his last four holes to share the halfway lead with Indian rookie Khalin Joshi at the SAIL-SBI Open in New Delhi on Thursday.

Reuters
Golf - Asian Tour rookies share halfway lead in India
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Asian Tour qualifying school winner Chan Kim (AFP)

The Korean-American, in his rookie year on the Tour, was at level-par till the 14th hole but surged to the top of the leaderboard with a four-under-par 68 for a total of nine-under 135.

Joshi, 20, also continued to shine in his maiden Asian Tour event as a professional, carding a three-under-par 69 to stay ahead of compatriot Rashid Khan and Bangladesh's Siddikur Rahman in the $300,000 event at the Delhi Golf Club.

"I finished with four straight birdies, definitely wasn't expecting it," Kim said after his grand finish.

"When I made the first two birdies on 15 and 16, I thought to myself 'I'm seven under and I was two back'. If I could make one or two birdies coming in, I would be right in there.

"I did feel some nerves in the last two holes but I controlled it well enough and stayed focus.

"I'll need to keep it in play tomorrow. Today, I kept in the fairways a lot. As long as you hit fairways, the greens are not hard to attack. Just have to play smart and try to get the putter rolling."

Joshi, India's top-ranked amateur last year, reached the turn in 36 but a brilliant chip-in for an eagle on the 14th hole made his day.

"It's great. I hit the ball good although my putting wasn't great," Joshi said. "Honestly, I felt normal. I didn't feel any pressure.

"I just wanted to go out there and do the best that I could. I'm looking forward to the next two days. It's a good position to be in. I'm not looking at the score board as it'll put pressure on me. I just want to go out to play."

Siddikur repeated his first-round 68 to be tied third with Rashid who blazed round the course in eight-under 64. Another Indian, Rahil Gangjee, fired two eagles in his round of 66 to be a shot behind in fifth.

The halfway cut was set at 146 with 76 players making it for the final two rounds.

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