Sajib falls to second
Sri Lanka's Thangaraja takes solo lead
Joint-overnight leader and local golfer Md Sajib Ali fell to joint-second place with a four-under-par (68) on the the second day of the City Bank American Express Chittagong Open yesterday.
Meanwhile, one of the other three overnight leaders, Colombo native N Thangaraja surged into a solo lead with a flawless five-under-par (67).
He now has a one-shot lead at the top of the leaderboard with an aggregate 12-under-par (132). Sajib and India's Aman Raj are joint-second with 11-under-par (133s).
Thangaraja exhibited some impeccable iron-play at the Bhatiary Golf & Country Club, striking his irons and wedges with pin-point precision and came agonisingly close to a hole-in-one on the 15th, where his tee shot landed inches from the pin.
"My five iron and six iron shots continue to be my strength. I kept landing it close especially with these two clubs. I was really unlucky to miss out on a hole-in-one on the 15th. Initially, I thought I had holed it," Thangaraja said.
"I'm also very confident about my chipping at the moment. I'm constantly going for the pins when I chip. That's the reason I managed to chip-in on the third today.
"One of the best moments of the round was making an up and down for par from 70 yards after finding the water with my tee shot on the closing ninth. That gave me a lot of confidence for the rest of the tournament," he added.
Sajib was not as consistent as he would have liked over the first 10 holes as he made four birdies but also dropped four shots in the Tk 50,00,000 event.
But the Dhaka-based golfer made a strong comeback on the front-nine with some exceptional wedge shots from a range of 70 to 100 yards that helped him collect four birdies.
Sajib said: "My short-game wasn't at its best on the back-nine even though I was hitting it well. I was then delighted with the way I fought back on the front-nine. I landed every approach within a couple of feet of the flag on the back-nine. I'll carry forward the confidence from the birdies I made on the last two holes today."
India's Veer Ahlawat, who made two eagles en route to 66, the day's joint best score, was placed fourth at nine-under-135.
The only other Bangladeshi representative in the top 10 was Mohammad Ismail, who returned a 70 which featured an eagle, two birdies and two bogeys, to be placed fifth at eight-under-136.
Jamal Mollah is just on the periphery, tied for 11th at four-under-140.
Fifty-two professionals made the cut, which was set at an aggregate five-over, which included 21 Bangladeshis, 28 Indians, two Sri Lankans and one South African.