Matt Fitzpatrick slumps as SSP Chawrasia leads in Hong Kong

India's SSP Chawrasia leads the Hong Kong Open. Picture: Anthony Wallace/AFP/Getty
India's SSP Chawrasia leads the Hong Kong Open. Picture: Anthony Wallace/AFP/Getty
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SSP Chawrasia will take a two-shot lead into the weekend at the UBS Hong Kong Open after England’s 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 yesterday.

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, below, continued to set a strong pace with just one blemish – a bogey on the 14th – in his round of 66 to move to nine under for the tournament.

“It’s a great round today,” said Chawrasia. “I was five under at one time and then three-putted at 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 is two shots clear of 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.

England’s Tommy Fleetwood carded a 68 to join an eight-way tie for seventh that also includes Welshman Jamie Donaldson, whose 69 moved him to four under for the tournament. English trio Justin Rose, Chris Hanson and James Morrison are among a seven-man group one shot further back.