McArthur takes two shot lead in India

2/1/2013 2:13:00 PM
Andrew McArthur  (EuropeanTour)
Andrew McArthur (EuropeanTour)
Andrew McArthur was in pole position for a first European Challenge Tour title in five years as the Scotsman moved two shots clear at the Gujarat Kensville Challenge thanks to a three under par second round of 69.

On the day when Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar visited the prestigious Kensville Golf and Country Club, one home favourite drew inspiration from the presence of his sporting idol as Shiv Kapur carded a one under par 71 to enter the weekend in second place on six under.

While the “Little Master” Tendulkar was causing a stir off the course, however, McArthur stole the show on the fairways and he got off to the perfect start as he hit his approach to three feet at the first and knocked in for a birdie. Five consecutive pars were then followed by a birdie at the seventh, which came courtesy of a superb 20-foot putt.

Once again, the Glasgow man stayed steady with nine pars on the trot and a converted 15-foot birdie putt at the 17th helped him to a bogey-free round which elevated him to eight under par for the tournament after an opening round 67.

“I actually hit it better today than the first day,” said the 31 year old. “I hit it closer and more often and just didn’t hole as many putts but I still holed a couple of nice ones.

“It was really solid. I hit two bad shots all day at the 14th and 15th tees and managed to get away with pars. I had tonnes of chances but you can’t expect to hole them all. Honestly, I must have had seven or eight other chances from eight to 15 feet so it was really good.”

McArthur is now looking forward to the weekend but knows the difficult lay-out at Kensville Golf and Country Club is no place to relax.

“There’s still a long way to go on a course like this but I don’t think there is any advantage in holding back,” he said. “If you shoot level par here at the weekend you’ll be nowhere so you have to press on and see what happens.“

Kapur, meanwhile, started strongly having teed off at the 10th hole, with birdies at the 12th and 14th holes, but he came unstuck with a bogey at the par five 17th to reach the turn in one under.

The New Delhi native picked up a shot at the third hole before missing the green on the par three eighth hole and failing to get up and down for par to finish the day in outright second place.

“I did not really have my A game today,” said the 30 year old. “I didn’t play as well as I did on the first day. It was a bit scrappy and didn’t hit it as close and made some soft bogeys.

“It was blemish free until the 17th and I was playing steady but nothing flashy. It was one of those days where I had to make the best of what I had.

“I'm still in the mix though and that is what’s important, it’s about getting off to a good start and I'm pretty happy with the position I'm in.”

First round leader Agustin Domingo signed for a one over 73 to finish the day in third place on five under par alongside Tim Sluiter of The Netherlands, who carded a three under par 69.