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TATA Steel PGTI : Varun Parikh surges into second round lead in Final Qualifying Stage


Varun Parikh landed two eagles during his second round of three-under 69 to move up one spot into a two-shot lead at eight-under 136 in the Final Qualifying Stage of the TATA Steel PGTI Qualifying School here on Wednesday.

Gurugram-based Sunhit Bishnoi (66-72), the first-round leader, closed the day in second place at six-under 138 after his 72 at the Kalhaar Blues & Greens Golf Club.

The cut went at 11-over 155. Out of a field of 121, the top 82 players including 15 amateurs made the cut.

Playing in his home town, the 23-year-old Varun (67-69), who was overnight second and one shot off the lead, made a steady start with pars on the first four holes before landing his four-iron approach to within six feet of the hole for an eagle on the par-5 fifth.

Varun, a professional since 2019, capitalized on the next par-5, the eighth hole as well, making a 12-feet birdie conversion there.

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On the back-nine, Parikh conceded bogeys on the 10th, 12th and 15th but also chipped in on the 14th for his second eagle of the day and sank a 10-footer for birdie on the 17th to stay in front of the rest at the halfway stage.

Varun said, “I hit my tee shots and approach shots well over the last two days. Here at Kalhaar, the approach shots need to be well-placed keeping in mind the undulating greens and I managed to do that.

“Playing in familiar conditions has helped as Kalhaar is almost like a home course for me since I practice and play here regularly while not on tour. I know this course well and that is a big advantage. I’m approaching this week like any other event and taking it one round at a time.” Manish Thakran (69-71) was placed third at four-under 140.

The seasoned Vijay Kumar, a former Indian Open champion, struck a hole-in-one on the second hole during his round of 74. He was placed tied eighth at even-par 144.

At the end of round four, the top 40 players will earn their full cards for the 2022 PGTI season.

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