Bangalore: Richie Ramsay of Scotland birdied four of his closing five holes as he raced into a three-shot lead at the halfway stage of the $1.25 million Hero Indian Open Golf at the KGA course here Friday as he fired a second successive five-under-par 66 for a 10-under-par 132.
Thailand pair of Panuphol Pittayarat and Chapchai Nirat, who last won on the Asian Tour in India in 2009 where he set a new world 72-hole scoring record of 32-under-par 256, and Jaakko Makitalo of Finland returned with matching cards of 68 to keep Ramsay in sight.
Indian hope Gaganjeet Bhullar, winner in Macau last week, led the home charge with a round of 69 for tied sixth position and was five shots off the pace on a rainy day while Thursday's co-leader James Morrison (England) came in with an even par 71.
Indian hope Gaganjeet Bhullar, winner in Macau last week, led the home charge with a round of 69 for tied sixth position.
Ramsay, a two-time winner in Europe, made 11 consecutive pars after his early birdie on 11 but bounced back on his homeward nine with four birdies including a tricky 25 foot downhill birdie putt on the last.
"It is always nice to hole a birdie on the last. The key was patience. I knew I was playing well and hit a lot of good iron shots. If you keep playing that way, sooner or later you will make something," said the 29-year-old.
"It was a really nice way to finish. I stayed patient and you have to find the fairways and get good angles at the pins. I felt that I could have gone really low if I sank some of my putts."
Panuphol, who is hunting for his first Asian Tour title, played blindly on the last three holes as sporadic rain in the afternoon fogged up his glasses. The highlight of his day was three straight birdies from 14 including a chip in from 15 yards on the 15th.
Makitalo, a graduate from Qualifying School, was two-over for the day after 10 holes before a 30-yard chip in eagle-three on 11 turned his fortunes around as he added three further birdies on his way home.
An in-form Bhullar kept his bid for a first Indian Open title alive as he peppered the greens with acute iron play.
"I felt good and was enjoying myself because I found a lot of fairways and hit a lot of greens in regulation. I'm still looking forward to hitting some low numbers in the next two days," said Bhullar, currently in fifth position on the Order of Merit.
The halfway cut was set at three-over-par 145 with a total of 81 players making the weekend rounds.