SSP Chawrasia will take a two-shot lead into the weekend at the UBS Hong Kong Open after Sheffield’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 to back that performance up.
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 continued to set a strong pace with just one blemish – a bogey on the 14th – on his scorecard as he went round in 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 number 14 but, still, it’s a good score four under – I’m happy.
“Obviously I’m under pressure a little bit, pressure is always tough so I can manage, hopefully, the next two days.”
Chawrasia sits two shots clear of hard-charging Thomas Aiken, who had the best round of the tournament so far with a bogey-free 64.
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 round of 69 moved him to four under for the tournament.
Huddersfield’s Chris Hanson, along with fellow Englishmen English Justin Rose and James Morrison, are part of a seven-man group sitting one shot further back.