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Delhi, 02 Nov 2017

Ajeetesh Sandhu continues golden run; Shoots 64 for opening day lead

Shiv Kapur one behind in second; Indians occupy top 4 places

India’s Ajeetesh Sandhu continued his golden run on the Asian Tour as he posted a sparkling eight-under-64 to grab hold of the round one lead at the Panasonic Open India 2017 being played at the Delhi Golf Club (DGC).

Chandigarh-based Ajeetesh, a winner of two titles in October including one on the Asian Tour, took a one-shot lead at the US$ 400,000 event as a result of a round that consisted of an eagle, seven birdies and a bogey.

Shiv Kapur, another Indian winner on the Asian Tour in 2017, struck a flawless seven-under-65 at his home course to lie second.

Shamim Khan, also hailing from DGC, along with Patna’s Aman Raj occupied tied third at six-under-66. Thus Indians occupied the top four spots on day one.

Ajeetesh Sandhu, who also secured a tied second in Macao last month besides his win in Chinese Taipei, was four-under through the front-nine thanks to an eagle from 15 feet on the 14th and two birdies.

The 29-year-old Sandhu continued the good work on the front-nine, picking up five birdies at the loss of just one bogey. He closed his round with a flourish, making birdies on the last three holes.

Ajeetesh said, “I feel really good to be able to shoot such a low score especially on a challenging golf course like this, which can be really tough. I played really well right from the start.

“I made the only bogey on the third hole. It was a tough tee shot which went into the rough and I didn’t have a shot from there. So I had to lay out on the green where I hit it to about 15 feet where I missed the putt.

“It’s going to be more of the same for tomorrow. I’m playing well and I’ll take every shots as it comes. It’s always important for me to play well at home as I’ve a lot of supporters this week and it’ll be nice to reward them with something special.”

Shiv Kapur went bogey-free as he executed his strategy of applying reverse psychology to perfection. Kapur was four-under through the front-nine as he chipped-in for birdie on the second and also made a quality up and down on the eighth that gave him some momentum.     

The two-time Asian tour winner recovered really well for par on the 14th after finding the bushes with his second shot. Finally, the birdies on the last three holes converted a good day into a great one for him.

Kapur said, “I played like I would play on a normal day. What worked for me today was that I made some crucial saves at some key moments. My up and downs were pretty good.

“Every time I’ve been in contention at the DGC, I’ve wanted it too bad and tried a bit too hard. But today I executed the reverse psychology strategy well and played like I would play a round here with my buddies. Hopefully, I can continue doing the same till the weekend.”

Seasoned Shamim Khan and 22-year-old Aman Raj, both with seven birdies and a bogey each, shot scores of 66 to make it complete Indian domination of the leaderboard.

Shamim’s round featured four straight birdies from the 10th to the 13th, his first four holes. Aman, on the other hand, came quite close to making eagles on two occasions as he nearly holed his wedge shots on the second and the eighth.

Indian star SSP Chawrasia, a winner of three Asian Tour events (two of them co-sanctioned with the European Tour) at the DGC was in tied fifth at 67.
 
Chawrasia, who won the 2014 edition of the Panasonic Open India, said, “It is always great to play at the DGC. I love this course as my results show. However, I am back playing here after a fairly long time, so it was nice to start with a good solid round.”
 
Chiragh Kumar, winner of the 2015 Panasonic Open India, his solitary Asian Tour win, carded a 68 that ended with an eagle and a double bogey on the eighth and ninth as he started the day from tenth.
 
Chiragh, also a local boy at DGC, shared seventh place with other Indians Divyanshu Bajaj, Amardip Sinh Malik and Akshay Sharma.
 
The Indian duo of defending champion Mukesh Kumar and 2012 champion Digvijay Singh fired scores of 72 to be in tied 41st.
 
Other notable scores among the Indians came from Shubhankar Sharma and Honey Baisoya, 69 each in tied 14th, Khalin Joshi and Gaganjeet Bhullar, 70 each in tied 23rd. Young Rashid Khan joined veterans Gaurav Ghei and Jyoti Randhawa at 71 in tied 31st place. Old guards Daniel Chopra (75) and Arjun Atwal (81) were placed tied 79th and tied 119th respectively.
 

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