Sport - Golf - Alex Fitzpatrick
Alex Fitzpatrick leads at the halfway point in India Image Credit: Challenge Tour

Alex Fitzpatrick will take a one stroke lead into the third round of The Challenge presented by KGA after firing a second consecutive seven under par round of 65 at Karnataka Golf Association.

The Englishman holds a narrow one shot advantage over Spain’s Ivan Cantero Gutierrez, who also posted a round of 65 on day two, with Dutchman Lars van Meijel a shot further back in third on 12 under.

Fitzpatrick has looked in fine form over the opening two days, posting two eagles and ten birdies without a blemish to reach 14 under par after the first 36 holes in Bangalore, and he is keen to continue that run over the next two days.

“You can’t really ever complain with seven under,” he said. “I got off to a decent start. I hit a few bad shots but managed to get up and down which for me was a bit of a turning point. Luckily I holed a couple of good putts and then managed to have an eagle on five which kick-started it really.

“You don’t need to be aggressive with these flags and the greens are so good, you can hole putts. It’s hard to judge the wind around here. One minute it’s down wind, the next it’s behind and the next it’s off the left so you have to take a few more seconds to make sure you know where the wind is.

“I just didn’t hole as many putts on the back nine, but that’s fine. I don’t mind hitting it to 30 foot and two putting. That’s never going to do any harm.”

I’ll be trying to enjoy it

Fitzpatrick attributes his good form to the work he’s put in away from the course, and is enjoying his time in India after previously teeing it up in the Hero Indian Open on the DP World Tour in February.

“My game has been a bit up and down at times,” he said. “I feel like I’ve put in a lot of hard work and it hasn’t always paid off, and I feel like I’m playing a bit better and that hard work is starting to show. It’s the same game plan tomorrow and I’ll be trying to enjoy it as much as I can.”

Joel Girrbach and Indian Udayan Mane each posted eight under par efforts of 64 to share the low round of the day, with the Switzerland native sitting three shots off the lead in a tie for fourth place alongside Frenchman Frederic Lacroix and local favourite Kartik Sharma on 11 under.

The third round gets under way at 6.40am local time, with leaders Fitzpatrick, Cantero Gutierrez and van Meijel teeing off at 10.45am.