Friday, March 29, 2019

AUSSIE HEND STAYS CLOSE TO USA LEADER SURI AT THE HERO INDIAN OPEN
Scott Hend of Australia
New Delhi, India, March 29: Australia’s Scott Hend continued his fine form to sign for a bogey-free four-under-par 68 at the halfway stage of the Hero Indian Open on Friday.
The big-hitting Australian compiled a two-day total of seven-under-par 137 to trail American Julian Suri by three shots in tied-fourth place at the US$1.75 million event held at the DLF Golf and Country Club.
Suri, who held a share of the overnight lead, extended his advantage by riding on a hot putter to sign for a second straight 67.
He holds a two-shot edge over South Africa’s George Coetzee (66) and Sweden’s Robert Karlsson (68) in second place.
Hend, who clinched his 10th Asian Tour title in Malaysia last week, put up a solid display of golf from tee to green, only missing one green in regulation.
Thai veteran Prayad Marksaeng rediscovered some of his best form at the Gary Player-designed course after trading six birdies against three bogeys to sign for a 69 and lurk four shots off the pace in sixth place.  
Australia’s Daniel Nisbet and India’s Om Prakash Chouhan produced the highlights of the day with their respective aces on the third and fifth holes.
Nisbet found the bottom of the cup with his four-iron from 240 yards while Chouhan made his hole-in-one with a six-iron from 190 yards and earned a a return business class trip to Munich for two nights including a trip to BMW Welt and a BMW DRIVE experience in Munich.
The halfway cut was set at two-over-par 146 with 70 players advancing to the final two rounds.
Did you know?
·       Scott Hend took over the lead on the current Habitat for Humanity Standings following his victory last week. He was the first Australian to be crowned the Order of Merit champion in 2016.
·       Hend, a 10-time Asian Tour winner, is hailed as one of the most successful international players on Tour with three titles in Thailand, two in Macau and one each in Indonesia, Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei and Singapore.
·       He was accurate with his approach shots and only missed one green in his second round. He hit 11 fairways and totalled 31 putts.
·       Prayad Marksaeng is one of Thailand’s most successful golfers with 10 Asian Tour victories under his belt.
·       He plays regularly on the Japan Senior Tour and has clinched 13 titles on that circuit.
·       Prayad’s best finish at the Indian Open was a tied-third result in 2015.
·       Masahiro Kawamura claimed his maiden breakthrough victory at the 2013 Asia-pacific Panasonic Open.
·       The 25-year-old Kawamura finished tied-second at the Gateway to The Open Mizuno Open last May to earn his spot at the 147th Open.
·       Daniel Nisbet won his first Asian Tour title at the ISPS HANDA New Zealand Open. He overcame a four-shot deficit to win with a tournament record of 27-under-par 258.
·       He has enjoyed one victory this year at the 2019 Coca-Cola Queensland PGA Championship in February, which was also his third win on his local circuit in the past 12 months.
·       Julian Suri is American but of Indian descent. His father was a tennis player and later a coach, who shifted to the USA and saw the potential Suri had in golf.
·       Suri is a one-time European Tour winner. He claimed his maiden victory at the Made In Denmark in 2017.
·       The last time two hole-in-ones were made on the same day at the Indian Open was in 1995 when American Steven Veriato and Gaurav Ghei both aced the 17th hole at Delhi Golf Club.
Players’ Quotes:
Julian Suri (Usa) Second round 67 (-5), Total 134 (-10)
I put the foot down, but I had the same mindset I had on the first nine. I hit it really well the whole day and I just tried to free it up a little bit on the second nine with my putting. I hit a lot of good shots and gave myself a ton of chances on the first nine but nothing dropped. So I just putted more freely on the second nine, with feel, like how I normally do.
I am hitting quite a few drivers. Driver is probably the most comfortable club in the bag for me so I am being pretty aggressive and with the greens being somewhat softer than what they were last year, I am coming into the greens with a lot of wedges and pitch shots and stuff, so you can score when you are in a good spot.
I’ve been playing well, and I knew I was playing well even though the score didn’t show it after the first nine, so just had to keep plugging away and staying patient.
I am in good position right now, obviously the course will be stretched out a little more and get more difficult. The greens were a little bit slow today and we struggled on the back nine. But I hit some good putts as well.
I am feeling pretty relaxed, especially coming off a win last week. So from tee to green I feel pretty confident. (On hole 14) It has been perfect because they pushed it back and I don’t have to worry about the rough on the right.
When they push it back, you can’t see where the ball is landing and you just need to hit a good club out there and play it safe.  I am feeling very tired, I haven’t been sleeping well so I just want to stay focused the next two days.
Prayad Marksaeng (Tha) Second Round 69 (-3) total 138 (-6)
I didn’t do too good on putting but was driving it well. The course is very hard because there are a lot of slopes so you really have to be careful on where you place your shots. 69 has been my best score here so I’m quite happy with it. Teeing off in the afternoon, the conditions were different. Greens were much harder compared to yesterday.
I won’t be too aggressive during the weekend rounds, I just want to try and get from fairway to the green. My goal is to just finish in the top-10 I haven’t been playing very well especially coming from last week. So this week I hope to stay consistent and keep up this pace.
Masahiro Kawamura (Jpn) Second Round 70 (-2), Total 139 (-5)
The conditions were pretty much same as yesterday, there wasn’t any wind but just a little bit hotter. My tee shots were good again today. I struggled to get on the greens in regulation in the back nine but my short game helped me. I think I had about two up-and-downs from the bunker. The back nine felt a little more difficult.
I’m happy to have made the cut especially on this course. I think my biggest thing to focus on is my putting. Hopefully I can get the speed and rhythm figured out and maybe I can put up some good rounds.
Scores after round 2 of the Hero Indian Open 2019 being played at the par 72, 7438 Yards DLF GCC course (am - denotes amateur):
Par 144 (2x72)
134 - Julian Suri (USA) 67-67
136 - George Coetzee (SAf) 70-66, Robert Karlsson (SWE) 68-68.
137 - Callum Shinkwin (ENG) 72-65, Scott Hend (AUS) 69-68.
138 - Prayad Marksaeng (THA) 69-69.
139 - Masahiro Kawamura (JPN) 69-70.
For full results click here

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