Gagan leads with 4-under par 68

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Bangalore, Jun 11 (UNI) Gagan Verma shot seven birdies to score four-under par 68 and grab a two-shot lead at the end of the half-way stage of the LG Southern India Amateur here today.

The lanky, who had opened with an even par 72 has a two-day total of four-under 140.

Chandigarh based amateur H S Kang submitted a similar card of 68 to be placed second along with overnight leader Vikram Rana at 142.

Rana shot a level par 72.

Making a huge leap was Bangalore lad Chikkarangappa who shot a three under 69 to move to the fourth position. The second ranked Manav Das also signed a card of 69 to be tied for the fifth position along with Abhinav Lohan at 144. Saurav Bahuguna was placed seventh at 146.

Gagan, who is looking for a maiden victory on the LG Indian Amateur Golf Tour, began from the tenth and tasted success on the par-four 11th when he made a birdie. But he went over on the very next hole even as he lost one more stroke on the par-four 15th.

However, the amateur from Delhi Golf Club resurrected his round with birdies on the 16th and 18th to take the turn at one-under.

Keeping the same tempo, Gagan opened with a birdie on the back nine. Playing some flawless golf, he saved strokes consecutively in the third and fourth and the sixth before committing a mistake on the seventh for a bogey.

''I am happy about my round although I could have done much better without those bogeys,'' said Gagan. ''The scores are too close to predict the winner. It could be anybody's game,'' he added.

Kang who has been playing really well this season began in a great fashion firing five birdies on his front nine. ''It was wonderful out there as I was enjoying the game and my putts just rolled in,'' said Kang who saved strokes on the first, fourth, sixth, seventh and ninth.

However, on the back nine Kang began with a bogey on the tenth and played brilliantly intermittently and flirted with birdies before finally making one on the 16th. He had to end on a sad note making a bogey on the finishing hole.

''It is a hard feeling but that is what golf is all about,'' he said.

Chikkarangappa who was the youngest Indian to represent the country in the Nomura Cup last year, made birdies on the first, fifth, ninth, 13th and 17th while making bogeys on the second and the seventh holes.

Top scores after 36 holes: 140 Gagan Verma (72, 68), 142 HS Kang (74, 68), Vikram Rana (70, 72), 143 Chikkarangappa (74, 69), 144 Manav Das (75, 69), Abhinav Lohan (72, 72), 146 Saurav Bahuguna (72, 74), 147 SK Lakra (74, 73), Jasjeet Singh (72, 75), Rashid Khan (71, 76), 148 Rahul Bakshi (78, 70), Karan Vasudeva (74, 74), Samresh Sardar (74, 74), Karan Singh (73, 75), Arshdeep Tiwana (71, 77), Tarun Ghogale (71, 77).

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