Abhijit Singh Chadha excelled in familiar conditions at his home course, carding a fine six-under 66 to take the round one lead at the Rs 50 lakh TATA Steel PGTI Players Championship here on Tuesday.
Abhijit’s opening round also featured a hole-in-one on the 14th.
On a windy day when scoring was not easy, Gurugram’s Kartik Sharma produced the day’s only bogey-free card to be tied second at 67.
Bangladesh’s Md Zamal Hossain Mollah and Tricity golfer Ravi Kumar from neighbouring Chandimandir also struck 67s to join southpaw Kartik in tied second position.
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The 30-year-old Abhijit, a three-time winner on the PGTI, made a solid start to the week with birdies on the second and fifth, landing his approach within six feet on the latter. Abhijit, who won in Pune last year, then zoomed on the leaderboard with a birdie on the 13th, followed by a hole-in-one on the 14th.
He then had a minor blip on the 15th where he dropped a bogey but more than made up for that with birdies on the 16th and 17th. He drove the green on the par-4 17th.
Abhijit, who scored on three of the four par-5s on day one, said, “The wind didn’t affect me much as I play here day in and day out and know my way around the course. However, I feel the heat will be the bigger challenge this week. In that sense, we got lucky today with the weather as it wasn’t that hot.
“The form has been good but I feel that I haven’t peaked yet. I’m just beginning to play well. I’m confident of playing well this week as I know the conditions well here. The hole-in-one was special as it turned out to be a perfect 7-iron shot.” Both Md Zamal Hossain Mollah and Ravi Kumar traded six birdies for a bogey on Tuesday. Zamal was in top form with the driver as he missed just one fairway.
Sri Lanka’s N Thangaraja and Indians Kshitij Naveed Kaul and Shivendra Singh Sisodia shared the fifth spot having fired rounds of 68.
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There were seven golfers bunched in tied eighth at 69, including Gaurav Ghei as well as Tricity golfers Ranjit Singh and Angad Cheema.
Among the other prominent names, Olympian Udayan Mane and Chandigarh’s Yuvraj Singh Sandhu were tied 15th with scores of 70.
Defending champion Karandeep Kochhar of Chandigarh carded a 71 to be tied 24th.