Chawrasia shoots another 69, eyes strong weekend at Scottish Champs

St. Andrews, Scotland, Oct 17: SSP Chawrasia carded a second successive 3-under 69 to get to six-under at the halfway stage of the inaugural Scottish Championship at Fairmont St. Andrews. Chawrasia, who returned to the course after seven months, had five birdies against two bogeys and was happy to finish before the wind became stronger. Chawrasia improved to T-18 from overnight T-21.

Also making the cut was Shubhankar Sharma (71-72), whose second round included one birdie and one bogey. He was T-57th, but Gaganjeet Bhullar rough run continued as he missed his fourth start in a row as he shot 71 on top of his first round 75 and finished 2-over as the cut fell at one-under.

Chawrasia, whose last start produced a T-28 finish in Qatar Masters, now has six scores in the 60s in his last seven rounds, the only aberration being a 74 in the final round at Qatar.

Chawrasia, starting on the back nine, birdied 14th, 15th and 18th but dropped shots on first and third, which he had birdied on the first day. He recovered with birdies on fourth and seventh.

While Chawrasia, whose last two European Tour wins came at the Hero Indian Open, the field was led by another Indian Open winner, Matt Wallace, who won it in 2018. Wallace (65-67) joined overnight leader, Adrian Otaegui (62-70) at the top at 12-under.

Aaron Rai, who won the Scottish Open, after finishing second at Irish Open, was again in the fray, as he landed an eagle on the first and added a second eagle on the seventh,  carded 67 to get to 11-under and was placed sole third.

Chawrasia, happy with his game, said, “I feel good and confident despite the long break in between March and now. As I said earlier, playing at St. Andrews is always a pleasure. After courses like Old Course, Kingsbarns and Carnoustie the Fairmont is new to me, but I like it.”

Speaking on the conditions, he added, “Of course it was cold, but it always is so in Scotland at this time and wind and rough is part of Links golf. So nothing new about that, but hopefully more putts will drop on the weekend. The bogey on Par-5 third was disappointing but I got over it quickly with birdies on fourth and seventh.”

Wallace, the world No 51 and second highest-ranked player in the field, dropped just one shot in his opening 36 holes while playing with the European Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington, who is nine-under.

Making most of the good morning conditions, Wallace said, “It’s good that I’ve done that in front of him,” admitted Wallace, who is determined to get on the Irishman’s team for next year’s rescheduled match at Whistling Straits and make up for the disappointment of missing out on one of Thomas Bjorn’s picks for the 2018 clash in Paris.

“I’m going to try and do it where I don’t need a pick this time, so this is a nice start,” added the 30-year-old of polished opening rounds of 65 and 67.

Otaegui came in to the second round with a three shot lead, and followed up his impressive opening round of 62 with a battling 70 at Fairmont St Andrews as he targets a first strokeplay victory on the European Tour following his wins at the 2017 Saltire Energy Paul Lawrie Match Play and 2018 Belgian Knockout.

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