Pattaya, Thailand, 28 Dec 2017

Indians Bhullar and Kapur among leading quintet in round one of Royal Cup

The Indian duo of Gaganjeet Bhullar and Shiv Kapur, both winners in the 2017 season, were among the five players who carded scores of four-under-67 to share the lead after round one of the Royal Cup, which is being contested at the Phoenix Gold Golf and Country Club in Pattaya, Thailand.

The other three golfers in the leading quintet were the Thai trio of Jazz Janewattananond, Raththee Sirithanakunsak and Panuphol Pittayarat.
Newlywed Gaganjeet Bhullar enjoyed a bogey-free round, highlighted by birdies on holes six, seven, 10 and 11. The 29-year-old Indian did not have ample time to prepare for the US$500,000 tournament as he arrived in Thailand the previous night. However, he played on the same course last year and after five holes, he adapted to the set up.

Bhullar said, “I had a good, stable round. I hit the ball really well. I gave myself a lot of birdie opportunities but because I misread the speed of the greens, I missed some of them. Overall, it’s a decent start to the tournament.
“I actually played without a practice round as I arrived last night, but because I played here last year, I have a rough idea of what’s going on at the course. It took me a few holes to get used to the speed and the slopes. By the fifth hole, I was a little more confident and comfortable. I’m looking forward to the next three days.
“My chip-in on seventh was quite special. I hit a six-iron and I just missed pin high right, on the right edge of the green. It was a tricky, quick chip and I was fortunate enough to hole it.”
Shiv Kapur of India, a two-time winner in Asia in 2017, got jolted into a competitive mindset after his bogey on the 14th, his fifth hole of the round. Kapur, who recently welcomed the birth of his daughter, went on to card four birdies over seven holes before stringing a series of pars to close the round.

Kapur, said, “I started off striking the ball very well and I’ve left quite a few shots out there. I putted 31 times and shot 67, which means that I’ve done very well when it comes to ball striking.
“I made a good par save on the last from the bunker. When you hole a good putt on the last hole, it always leaves a good taste in the mouth.
“My bogey on the 14th got me to re-focus and think. I told myself, you’re playing well, but you have to buckle down. This is especially so, when you haven’t played for some time and your sharpness isn’t there. I bounced back with a birdie on 15th, which set the tone for the rest of the day.”

Jyoti Randhawa and Khalin Joshi, the other two Indians in the 78-man field, were both placed tied 20th with matching scores of one-under-70.

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