Grinding it out on the second day, Indian golfers Shubhankar Sharma and Gaganjeet Bhullar managed under-par cards to make the cut at the Dubai Desert Classic, in Dubai on Friday.
Playing in successive groups from the first tee, Sharma (71-69) and Bhullar (71-70), moved to four-under and three-under respectively to ensure weekend action for themselves.
Sharma was Tied-47th while Bhullar was Tied-56th.
Things however did not pan out too well for the other two Indians, SSP Chawrasia (72-75) and the Dubai-based amateur, Rayhan Thomas (74-69) as they exited early.
Thomas, 19, who joins college in US this August, was two-over 74 on first day and his total was one-under 143 as the cut fell at three-under 141.
The 23-year-old Australian Lucas Herbert (69-63), who had five Top-5s as a rookie last year to rise to No. 78 in the world, took a share of the lead with American Bryson DeChambeau (66-66), the World No. 5, who three years ago came to Dubai as an amateur ranked World No. 530.
Herbert blazed through a round of 63 while De Chambeau, who had four wins in 2018, shot 66 despite three bogeys.
Both are 12-under and trailing them by one are three-time Desert Classic winner, Ernie Els, who was five-under for four Par-5s, and the 2011 winner, Spaniard Alvaro Quiros (69-64), who closed with four birdies in last four holes.
Sharma, who missed the cut in Dubai last year, was all over the place off the tee but time and again his fine iron play got him out of trouble. After the sixth, till when he made two great par saves, his putting also found the rhythm.
“I hit my irons well, got my putter going after the sixth and it was really good on the back nine, but I just don’t know what happened with my driving. I was all over the course. I found very few fairways,” he said.
“At the range I was hitting good, so I am going to see what to do with my coach, Mr. Jesse Grewal, who is here this week.”
Bhullar said he has been “playing well” but not getting the scores that this play should.
“I missed so many narrowly, lipping out, stopping short by a roll like on 18th, and just sliding past to a foot or so. Still I am happy to be around for the weekend.”
Sharma started with a birdie and then did not find any more on the tougher front nine. He did drop a shot on sixth, which took a shot from him on the first day, too.
On the back nine, he birdied 10th, 12th, 16th and rolled in a 15-16 footer on 18th for a fourth birdie.
Bhullar in contrast began with a bogey, but birdies on second and third saw him get under par. He bogeyed ninth, but the scoreboard for long showed that as par.
On the back nine, he birdied 10th and 11th with great approach shots, but gave away a shot on Par-5 13th but birdied 17th to keep his head above water and make the cut.