Wednesday 21 February 2018

Chawrasia maintains pace in Hong Kong

 

SSP Chawrasia of India. Photo: Getty Images
SSP Chawrasia of India. Photo: Getty Images

Phil Casey

SSP Chawrasia will take a two-shot lead into the third round of the Hong Kong Open after England's Matt Fitzpatrick tumbled down the leaderboard yesterday.

Fitzpatrick, who was looking to overcome a disappointing finish to last week's DP World Tour Championship, began the day one shot behind overnight leader Chawrasia.

However, a double-bogey on the first set the tone for a disappointing day and bogeys on the ninth, 11th and 14th holes also contributed to a round of three-over 73, sending him sliding down to a share of 26th place, now eight shots off the lead.

Ireland's Paul Dunne carded a second successive one-over-par 71 to make the cut on the mark at two-over.

The Greystones man carded two birdies and three bogeys but needs a strong weekend to earn a sizeable payday tomorrow.

India's Chawrasia continued to set a strong pace with just one blemish - a bogey on the 14th - on his scorecard as he went round in 66 to move to nine-under for the tournament.

"It's a great round today," Chawrasia said. "I was five-under at one time and then three-putted number 14 but, still, it's a good score four-under - I'm happy.

"I'm just following my game. Same thing I'm playing the last two days, exactly the same strategy.

"Obviously I'm under pressure a little bit, pressure is always tough so I can manage, hopefully, the next two days."

Chawrasia sits two shots clear of hard-charging Thomas Aiken, who had the best round of the tournament so far with a bogey-free 64.

"That was a little better, it was a fun round of golf," Aiken said. "Just went out there with the same game plan as yesterday, hit some good-quality shots and really didn't make many mistakes - that was the key."

The South African has sole possession of second place, two shots clear of a four-man group at five-under.

Tommy Fleetwood carded a 68 to join an eight-way tie for seventh that also includes Welshman Jamie Donaldson, whose round of 69 moved him to four-under for the tournament.

English trio Justin Rose, Chris Hanson and James Morrison are part of a seven-man group one shot further back.

Hong Kong Open live,

Sky Sports Golf, 4.30am

Irish Independent

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