Shiv Shankar Prasad Chowrasia, laid off from the Amby Valley PGAI Tour for over six months due to a motorcycle accident, motored into the lead with a superb six-under 66 even as Mukesh Kumar shot a remarkable round of 65 to leap into second position at the mid-way stage of the Rs Five million PSPB Open Petroleum Golf Championship 2005, at the par-72 Delhi Golf Club on Friday.
Chowrasia's tournament tally stood at nine-under 135, while Mukesh was a solitary stroke behind the leader.
Kolkata's Feroz Ali, known for his attacking brand of golf, was third at seven-under 137, while India's top-ranked amateur Gaganjeet Bhular was fourth at 138.
Overnight leader Gaurav Ghei slipped to tied-fifth place where he was accompanied by Ashok Kumar, Amandeep Johl and Rafick Ali.
Star attraction Jeev Milkha Singh staged a recovery with a second round 69 to move to tied-19th, while Shiv Kapur fired an identical number to Jeev's to squeeze into the final two rounds.
Among the Thai players, Wisut Artjanawat was placed 14th at 143, while Chapchai Nirat was tied-35th at 149.
The cut was applied at seven-over 151, with 54 pros and nine amateurs making the grade. Among the big names to miss the bus were Amritinder Singh, Harinder Gupta and Indrajit Bhalotia.
A wrist fracture is not one that heals too soon and when Chowrasia was first diagnosed with this injury, post his motorcycle accident in July 2004, he honestly believed his career would take a setback.
True enough, the 26-year old missed most of the 2004-05 Amby Valley PGAI Tour season, but to his credit he bounced back in style, to win the Sir Padampat Singhania Open at Noida in end February.
Today, he set himself up for a win at the biggest ever event in Indian domestic golf.
"I planned to play it safe yesterday and that yielded me a round of 69. Today, I went on the aggressive and what also helped was that several putts dropped," he added.
Scores (after 36 holes): 135 SSP Chowrasia(69,66); 136 Mukesh Kumar(71,65); 137 Feroz Ali(67,70); 139 Rafick Ali(71,68), Ashok Kumar(69,70), Amandeep Johl(67,72), Gaurav Ghei(66,73); 140 Gast Ram(71,69), Digvijay Singh(69,71); 142 Arjun Singh(70,72) Amateurs: 138 Gaganjeet Bhullar(68,70); 140 Simarjeet Singh(69,71); 142 Ajeetesh Sandhu(72,70).