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Amateur Mane rises to tied fifth at Asia-Pacific

Amateur Mane rises to tied fifth at Asia Pacific Udayan Mane had an eventful second round with six birdies against three bogeys to rise to tied fifth place after the second round of the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship here today.

Mane, the best Asian finisher at the World Amateur in Japan and fourth at the Asian Games last month, is now five-under 137 and four shots behind the new leader, Australia’s Antonio Murdaca (69-68) at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club here.

Mane was tied 12th after the first round.

Three other Indians made the midway cut. Rigel Fernandes (74-71), the Bangalore-born, who studies and plays amateur golf in US, started on the 10th to have three birdies against two bogeys to move to tied 16th place up from overnight 30th place. Viraj Madappa (75-73) is in tied 29th place at four-over 148 and Aman Raj (78-75) in tied 54th place also made the cut, which fell at 10-over 154.

Two other Indians — Syed Saqib Ahmed (80-76) and Manu Gandas (82-76) — missed the cut.

The winner of the Asia-Pacific Amateurs gets a start at the Masters besides a spot in the Qualifying for the British Open.

Mane, who has been India’s top amateur, could well become only the third Indian after Jeev Milkha Singh (2007-2008-2009) and Arjun Atwal (2011) to play at the Masters, if he wins the Asian Amateur. He is still in the mix just four behind with 36 holes to go.

Mane teed off from the 10th and birdied it immediately, despite the blustery conditions. He gave away the shot on 15th but again went under par on par-5 17th. On the second nine, he was in fine form with birdies on second, third, sixth and eighth, but dropped shots on fourth and ninth for a 69 that put him in a tie with Guan Tianlang, who as a 14-year-old made the cut at the Masters in 2013.