Chawrasia retains lead as Fitzpatrick takes a tumble
Dunne is one shot inside the weekend cut after a second consecutive 71
SSP Chawrasia took a two-shot lead into the weekend at the UBS Hong Kong Open after Matt Fitzpatrick tumbled down the leaderboard on the second day.
Fitzpatrick, who was looking to overcome a disappointing finish to last week’s DP World Tour Championship, began the day one shot behind overnight leader Chawrasia but struggled on Friday.
A double bogey on the first set the tone and bogeys on the ninth, 11th and 14th holes contributed to a round of three-over 73, sending him sliding down to a share of 26th place, now eight shots off the lead.
India’s Chawrasia continued to set a strong pace with just one blemish — a bogey on the 14th — on his scorecard as he went round in 66 to move to nine under for the tournament.
“It’s a great round today,” Chawrasia said on the European Tour website. “I was five under at one time and then three-putted number 14 but, still, it’s a good score four under — I’m happy.
“I’m just following my game. Same thing I’m playing the last two days, exactly the same strategy.
“Obviously I’m under pressure a little bit, pressure is always tough so I can manage, hopefully, the next two days.”
Chawrasia sits two shots clear of hard-charging Thomas Aiken, who had the best round of the tournament so far with a bogey-free 64.
“That was a little better, it was a fun round of golf,” Aiken said. “Just went out there with the same game plan as yesterday, hit some good-quality shots and really didn’t make many mistakes — that was the key.”
The South African has sole possession of second place, two shots clear of a four-man group at five under.
Ireland’s Paul Dunne shot a second consecutive 71, to leave him two over par overall and just inside the weekend cut.
Tommy Fleetwood carded a 68 to join an eight-way tie for seventh that also includes Welshman Jamie Donaldson, whose round of 69 moved him to four under for the tournament.
English trio Justin Rose, Chris Hanson and James Morrison are part of a seven-man group one shot further back.