Rookie Rashid Khan ahead at PGTI Players

Rashid Khan

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Gaganjeet Bhullar of India won the 2011 Gujarat Kensville Challenge, held in his homeland.

KOLKATA, India – Gaganjeet Bhullar may be the hottest player in India, but teen rookie Rashid Khan is taking some the spotlight for himself.

The 19-year-old Khan shot his second consecutive 64 Wednesday as he built a three-stroke lead through the halfway point of the Aircel PGTI Players Championship at Tollygunge Golf Club.

Khan, silver medalist at last year’s Guangzhou Asian Games, is at 12-under 128, while Rahil Gangjee is second at 9 under. Bhullar, who has three consecutive victories to begin the Professional Golf Tour of India season, posted a 69 and is tied for 10th at 136.

“Even though I produced identical scores on the first two days, I rate today’s round better as compared to Round 1, as I was a lot more consistent today,” Khan said. “I did well in all departments of the game during the second round.

“It’s a really good position to be in at this stage. . . . There are a lot of experienced players behind me. I will let them do the chasing.”

Khan got off to a hot start when he landed his approach shot within 3 feet to set up a birdie on the first hole. He added another birdie on the second before his first bogey of the day on the sixth.

A flurry of birdies on Nos. 8-11 improved his situation. He sank a 30-footer on No. 8 to start the run.

Vijay Kumar and Anirban Lahiri fired 65s and are tied for third at 7 under with Jyoti Randhawa.

Bhullar is currently No. 166 in the Official World Golf Ranking; PGA Tour member Arjun Atwal is the only Indian in front of him at No. 110.

So far in 2011, Bhullar has won the Gujarat Kensville Challenge (the first European Challenge Tour event in India), the American Express Bangladesh Open and last week’s PGTI Players Championship at Royal Calcutta Golf Club.

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