Asian Games: Golfer Udayan Mane moves to medal contention

Incheon: Udayan Mane (66) and Manu Gandas (69) handled the cloudy and windy conditions at the Dream Park Country Club very maturely to come back with fine rounds that kept India in medal contention midway through the Asian Games golf tournament yesterday.

Udayan Mane
Udayan Mane

The 23-year-old Mane, who shares Vijay Divecha, as the coach with the highly successful India pro, Anirban Lahiri, carded the day’s best of 66 to move up from overnight ninth to tied third. Mane, who recently finished as the best Asian in World Amateur Golf Championships in Japan, was three-under on either side of the course and sank seven birdies against just one bogey, which came on his opening hole, the 10th.

Mane is now eight-under 136 for two rounds, but three shots behind the new leader, 17-year-old Youm Eunho of Korea, who added a 66 to his first 67. Overnight leader, Florida-based Cheng Tsung Pan of Chinese Taipei, a silver medallist in 2006, slipped to second after a round of 69. He is at nine-under 135.

Gandas was very consistent with three birdies and two bogeys till the 16th, before he finished with back-to-back bogeys on the last two hauls to move into top-10 at tied eighth place

Feroz Garewal (73) holed an eagle from 60 yards on his last hole, the ninth of the course, while Samarth Dwivedi (73) after being two-over for first five holes was one-under with one birdie on the first and 12 pars.

The Indian men’s team stayed in fifth place, but they gave themselves a good chance to challenge for a medal, even as Taipei (408) moved into a seven-shot lead over defending champions Korea (415). Thailand and China were tied third at 417 with India at 419.

The Indian women disappointed even though Gurbani Singh shot an even par 72 in the second round. At three-over 147 she is 15th, while Aditi Ashok improved on her first round 78 with a 75 to move to stay at 22nd, while Astha Madan slipped to 23rd with a 79 after a 75 in first round. The Indian women were eighth in team, where Thailand were on top, followed by Korea and China.

Mane was the pick of the Indian golfers, as he has sank three birdies on both stretches. He opened with a bogey on 10th for his only mistakes of the day. “It was windy, but I felt good. I hit the ball straight and made decent putts,” said Mane. “We just need to stay patient and wait for the opportunities. We are very hopeful of a good result.”

Mane birdied the 12th, 14th, 16th and 17th and turned in three-under added birdies on first, fourth and sixth. “I did miss a couple of possible birdies, but you can’t get them all.”

Indian coach Jasjit Singh was happy with the progress. “They played well and I was happy with the way Feroz, Manu and even Samarth closed well. On the first day, our problem was closing holes, today apart from Udayan, the other three had problems at the start, but they coped well and ensured they didn’t go into big numbers. They have learnt a lot in past three months having played in many tournaments and also at this course in Incheon.”

China’s Guan Tianglang shot par and slipped from tied fifth to 13th at three-under 141, but China were helped Bai Zhenkai (75-66) and stayed tied third.

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