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Randhawa loses ground, McGrane in the lead

Last updated on: February 08, 2008 19:31 IST

Jyoti Randhawa tumbled off the perch while Jeev Milkha Singh and Ryder Cup star David Howell fell by the wayside as the Delhi Golf Course bared its fangs on day two of the $ 2.5 million Indian Masters in New Delhi on Friday.

In all, 14 Indians made the cut with Arjun Atwal and Digvijay Singh joining a huddle at the sixth place after their second successive round of 70. One shot behind, at tied 12th, was SSP Chowrasia who carded 71 on Friday.

Irishman Damien McGrane added 69 to his opening day score of 67 to sit on top of the pile at the half-way stage of the European Tour event. A 10th tee starter, McGrane bogeyed the 11th and fourth holes but more than made up with five birdies that took his tally to eight-under 136.

Convinced that he had cracked the code and mastered the course, McGrane stressed he would stick to the same gameplan that paid him dividends in the first two rounds. 

"I would like to try to do the same thing. I found a formula around the course that seems to be giving me good numbers. So I'll try to hit the same clubs off the same tee boxes and give myself as many birdie opportunities as possible," he said.

There is a South African high on the leaderboard as well and it's not Ernie Els but Hendrik Buhrmann, who carded his second straight round of 69 to be hot on McGrane's heels two shot behind.

"For the last 13 years, I've been playing here in India and I think the key is to keep the ball in the play," said the golfer, who made his lone bogey on the ninth hole but made amends with a birdie quartet.

A similar conservative philosophy saw Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland return an identical card and join Buhrmann at 138.

"Patience was the key for me today," said McDowell, who sunk four birdies against a lone bogey for a satisfying outing.

Frenchman Raphael Jacquelin returned his second successive card of 69 to join the duo at tied second.

Similar satisfaction, however, eluded most of the Indians in the fray.

Cynosure of all eyes after Thursday's sensational opening round, Randhawa (142) bogeyed the opening hole and that indeed was a bad omen.

The overnight leader birdied the second and eighth but four bogeys and a triple bogey on the par-four sixth cooked his goose as he came tumbling down the leaderboard to be tied 15th after a nightmarish 77.

Overnight fourth Shiv Kapur too fell with a thud after a horrendous 78, a round blighted by two bogeys, as many double bogeys and a triple bogey to boot. He will need an extraordinary effort in the next two days to manage a decent finish on his home turf.

Worse was the case with Jeev whose second successive round of 77 slammed the door on the seasoned pro.

Birdies -- he managed just two -- were as elusive as the sun on Friday and seven bogeys put paid to his hopes of hanging around for weekend action.

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