Rafael Cabrera-Bello of Spain was the clubhouse leader by a single shot despite two bogeys in his closing three holes in a second-round 3-under 69 at the Avantha Masters on Friday. The event is co-sanctioned by the European Tour, Asian Tour and Professional Golf Tour of India.
Cabrera-Bello, who won his only title on the European Tour at the 2009 Austrian Open with a stunning final round of 60, was at 8-under 136 overall, one shot clear of India’s Shiv Kapur (65), Denmark’s Mark Haastrup (66), Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat (67), and England’s Robert Coles (67).
2011 AVANTHA MASTERS
The second edition of the Avantha Masters is co-sanctioned by the European Tour, Asian Tour and Professional Golf Tour of India.
Two shots back on 6 under were Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand, a 12-time winner on the Asian Tour, and Lu Wei-chih of Taiwan, who both carded 68s at DLF Golf & Country Club.
Darren Beck of Australia, Marc Warren of England and SSP Chowrasia of India, champion of the first European Tour event in India in 2008, were among the group of nine players who completed their second rounds and were 5 under for 36 holes.
Cabrera-Bello was an afternoon starter in the first round, which was hit by a three-and-a-half-hour fog delay on Thursday. It meant he was among those who had to complete the opening round on Friday, which he did with a 5-under 67, moving one behind early leader Robert-Jan Derksen of the Netherlands.
Derksen, one of the late starters in the second round, gave away two shots in nine holes and dropped to 4 under midway through the round.
A total of 64 players will resume their second rounds early Saturday, including Indian favorite Jeev Milkha Singh and Thai star Thongchai Jaidee, who were both at 7 under, one behind Cabrera-Bello, with seven holes each to play.
Starting on No. 10, Cabrera-Bello birdied the hole then drained a 30-foot birdie putt on the par-3 11th. He birdied the 15th, 16th and 6th holes before committing bogeys on holes 7 and 9.
“Eight under after two rounds and leading in the clubhouse, so I’ve got to be happy,” said Cabrera-Bello who has won once on the European Tour. “I’m playing well but this is a very weird sport and you have to try to focus day by day and shot by shot, and if I’m in with a chance on Sunday I’ll try to take it.”
Kapur produced the round of the tournament so far with a flawless 7-under 65 to catapult himself from a tie for 44th to second. He credited his coach for turning his game around.
“The 30-minute break between the finish of the first round and the start of the second round did a world of good,” Kapur said. “I spent some time with my coach (Jamie Gough) and we found something that helped me through the second round.”
What that was he wouldn’t say.
“After that small session with Jamie, things came together. I hit a lot of good shots and good putts, which came close or shaved the hole. There were no putts that didn’t have a chance. I could easily have been 10 or 11 under, but I suppose that can be said for everyone if all their putts fall, too.”
Kapur won his only Asian Tour title six years ago.
Others among the Indian contingent also enjoyed a fairly good day.
SSP Chowrasia played steadily for 69 after an opening 70. He played 30 holes on a long and tiring day. Sujjan Singh, who went through Q-School to make the Asian Tour this year, was at 5 under through eight holes, while Rashid Khan, who with Jeev was the best Indian in the first round with a 68, was 1 over through 16 holes.