Jyoti Randhawa soared to pole position with a steady four-under 68 but SSP Chowrasia's game came unstuck and the Indian Masters' winner missed the cut in the US $400,000 SAIL Open in Noida on Thursday.
In all, 21 Indians made the cut and the sparse crowd at the par-72 Jaypee Greens returned home lamenting Chowrasia was not one of them.
The Kolkata pro, who had stunned a star-studded field to lift the Indian Masters crown a fortnight ago, fell by the wayside with a poor second round of 74.
His 36-hole tally of 146 left him on the wrong side of the cut line which was set at 145.
Chowrasia's round was blighted by two double bogeys and he could not recover to hang around for weekend action.
"This is how golf treats you at times. There simply can't be any excuse. I did not play well and so missed the cut. It's as simple as that," Chowrasia said.
Randhawa, however, no such worry and the former Asia number one turned in 68 to join overnight leader Tony Carolan at the top of the pack at nine-under 135.
Even-par after nine holes, Randhawa enjoyed the wide fairways on course on the back nine and sunk three straight birdies on the 10th, 11th and 12th holes before another birdie on the 15th placed him at the top of the field.
Trailing Randhawa and Carolan from one shot behind was 45-year-old veteran Wang Ter Chang of the Chinese Taipei, whose five-under 67 put him at 136 and in third place.
Tied for fourth was a four-man pack, including overnight co-leaders Ross Bain (71), Fijian Dinesh Chand (70), big-hitting Australian Scott Hend (70) and the surprise pack, 43-year-old Indian Dinesh Kumar (69) at seven-under 137.
One shot further down was a seven-man Cosmopolitan group, comprising India's Gaganjeet Bhullar (68), Filipino Angelo Que (70), Malaysian Danny Chia (70), Thai Panuwat Muenlek (67), Korean Noh Seung-yul (70), Australian Adam Groom (71) and Kiwi Mark Brown (69).
The tournament was wide open, just as the fairways at the Greg Norman layout, with the 14 players within three shots of each other. Though everything seemed perfect for him, Randhawa preferred to call it an average day.
"As for the overall day, it was very average, but the score was quite good at 68. There are times when you play well and still come back with a 70. This time I played just average but the score was fine," he said.
"It was a cold start in the morning. There was frost in the morning and I got warmed really on the back nine."
Meanwhile, Chowrasia was not the only prominent golfer with a heartbreak. Veteran Gaurav Ghei carded a disastrous 79 to total 151 and crash out, as did Thai Thammannoon Srirot ((74-72), Harmeet Kahlon (73-73), Rahil Gangjee (73-74) and Amandeep Johl (72-78).
Leading second round scores:
135 - Jyoti Randhawa (67-68), Tony Carolan (66-69)
136 - Wang Ter-chang (69-67)
137 - Scott Hend (67-70), Dinesh Chand (67-70), Dinesh Kumar (68-69), Ross Bain (66-71) 138 - Angelo Que (68-70), Danny Chia (68-70), Panuwat Muenlek (71-67), Noh Seung-yul (68-70), Adam Groom (67-71), Mark Brown (69-69), Gaganjeet Bhullar (70-68).