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Paul pulls clear at Hero Indian Open

Yannik Paul of Germany walks down the fairway on the 9th hole during Day Two of the Hero Indian Open at Dlf Golf and Country Club on February 24, 2023 in India. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
Yannik Paul of Germany walks down the fairway on the 9th hole during Day Two of the Hero Indian Open at Dlf Golf and Country Club on February 24, 2023 in India. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

Yannik Paul extended his lead at the Hero Indian Open to five strokes after posting a three under par round of 69 on day two at DLF Golf and Country Club.

The German led by one after 18 holes but pulled away from the pack on day two as he reached ten under par to continue his quest for a second DP World Tour title.

The 28-year-old finished second at last week’s Thailand Classic and has shown no signs of slowing down, with just a single bogey the only blemish on an otherwise clean second round scorecard as he set the target early in the day, which proved unassailable after 36 holes.

Scoring proved to be more difficult on day two in New Delhi as Finland’s Mikko Korhonen moved into a share of second place after posting a level par 72. He is joined on five under par by Iceland’s Gudmundur Kristjansson, four-time DP World Tour winner Marcel Siem and local favourite Angad Cheema, who is the leading Indian player.

The low round of the day went to Japan’s Kazuki Higa as he carded the first and only bogey-free round of the week so far, with six birdies contributing to a fine 66 on the picturesque but tricky Gary Player designed layout.

There were 66 players who made the cut on four over par, with the third round set to begin at 7:23am local time on Saturday.

Player quotes

Yannik Paul: “I played well. I probably played almost better today than yesterday. I felt the pins were in tougher spots today so you had a lot of downhill putts where you think you have a good look but it’s actually two or three cups’ break. I think the key part is just staying patient. You have quite a few wedges but the pins are so tucked and the course is general is so firm, so you feel like you’ve got to make some birdies but par is fine too. You just have to stay patient and just focus on myself and see where I end up.

“It feels good when you feel like you can first of all get over the line and second of all, make a putt when it matters. I only noticed that last week, I was a bit calmer and more collected because you feel like you’ve gained experience last year and that helped me last week. I’ll try not to focus too much on the leaderboard, on a course like this anything can happen so I’ll just focus on my game plan and see where I end up.”

Mikko Korhonen: “It was a nice round, nothing special really. I played like the course like it should be played, I think. I didn’t hit it quite as closer as yesterday, that’s why it was only level par but I’m happy with level par.

“We’ll see what happens on the weekend, things can happen quickly on this course.

“You need to stay patient. I made a double on 17 today and you just can’t miss it in the rough on that hole. Period.”

Gudmundur Kristjansson: “It’s very nice. I’ve had a decent last two weeks, compared to what came before. There is some nice progression in my game so I’m very happy to be up there and playing nicely.

“I’m just loving it out there. It’s very enjoyable. I like going to new places so these last few weeks have been lovely.

“It’s a very tricky course but it is nice knowing that you’re not going to get away with anything here. You’re always laser-focussed on not only where your target is but also where your leaves are. Looking at that 18th green, if you miss the green, you’re very lucky to have a shot inside ten feet from there. I’ve been quite conservative in trying to leave everything between ten and 30 feet on every hole.”

Angad Cheema: “It was definitely tougher, this golf course is tough in general but there are still some scores out there if you could get them. You would have to hole a lot of putts.

“I had a lip-out on 18 but it is going to happen to everyone on this golf course, you have to take it.

“It is a tough golf course, you have to stay patient. You have to stay patient and I’ve been trying to work on that, not only on this golf course but also in general. I’ve got to keep doing that. I don’t know what the key is, you have to try and stay patient.

“It’s a proud feeling to be the leading Indian. It’s a good feeling to be up there, it’s not going to be easy but I’ve just got to go out there and do my best.”

Joost Luiten: “I think it’s a decent score. I made some mistakes, two three-putts on the front nine and then basically made a three-putt on the last from the edge of the green. There were a lot of good things in there as well, a few birdies.

“The greens are very undulated and some of the pin positions, if you’re out of position then you’re going to struggle to get it close. There were a couple where I didn’t think I should’ve been out of position but it can happen quickly here and you’ve got to pay attention all the time. That’s this golf course, you’ve got to position it well on the greens.

“I like it here. There’s nothing like it. It’s a very demanding golf course off the tee and also into the greens and on the greens. Every area of the game is getting tested. It’s not a bombers course, you’ve got to hit it straight and that suits my game. Some guys get frustrated but I like it.”

Marcel Siem: “I gave myself a lot of chances today, not as close as I would’ve wished for, but it’s getting better.

“The eagle on 15 was good. We all hit three good shots in there and Danie said ‘oh, my ball is in’ and we got up there and there were only two balls and everyone thought his ball went in but it was mine, so lucky me. I spun it back into the hole. It was great.

“I said to my wife at the beginning of the week that it’s a cool tournament and the winning score is always between eight and ten under. Yannik did a great job, he must’ve holed a lot of putts. I had a lot of chances today but the greens are getting crispier and crispier in the afternoons.

“I’m not going to try and play stupidly aggressive on this course, because it can bite you. If you hole some putts, the who knows.”

Kazuki Higa: “I played very well today. I only missed the green on 18. I’m very satisfied with my score today. I had some more chances in my round but I think I did my best.

“This course is very tricky. There are a couple of par threes where you have a chance where you might get a double bogey or bogey, but I managed to get birdies so I was very happy.

“There are very high expectations on the DP World Tour. I’m enjoying the Tour and I hope I can play good golf and have a chance to win a tournament on the DP World Tour.”

Scores after round two