Shamim, Chikka, Himmat, Anura, Sujjan are leading quintet on day one of Bengaluru Open Golf Championship sponsored by Karnataka Tourism
Bengaluru, November 15, 2017: The lead was set at six-under-66 on the opening day of the Rs. 1 crore Bengaluru Open Golf Championship sponsored by Karnataka Tourism.
The five players who shared the top honours on day one included Bengaluru’s Chikkarangappa, PGTI Order of Merit leader Shamim Khan of Delhi, Himmat Rai who also hails from Delhi, Chandigarh’s Sujjan Singh and Sri Lankan Anura Rohana.
Local favourite Chikkarangappa’s move to change his putter ahead of the event worked out well for him as he had a fruitful day on the greens despite some erratic hitting. After an early bogey on the second, Chikka drained seven birdies to post an impressive number. The Asian Tour regular chipped-in for birdie on the 13th and then recovered well from the trees and sank a 15-footer for birdie on the 16th.
Chikka, a winner of 10 professional titles including two on the Asian Development Tour (ADT), said, “My hitting was all over but my putting gave me a lot of confidence. After a gap of 18 months, I finally went back to the putter that I used for almost 10 years. I have enjoyed all my success with this putter barring the win at KGA last year.
“I changed my putter after last week’s event in Manila since I wasn’t comfortable with it anymore. The return to the old putter seems to be working for me now.”
Sujjan Singh, playing through fever, was the only one among the leading pack with a bogey-free round. Sujjan, another Indian winner on the Asian Development Tour (ADT), began the week with a terrific par save from the bunker on the opening 10th hole. That set the ball rolling for him as he secured six birdies thereafter to tie for the lead.
“I began the day with low expectations as I discovered my driver was broken during transit from Manila to India. I’m now using a new driver this week. I made a lot of putts from six to eight feet and also had a couple of great par saves where I landed my bunker shots within a foot of the flag.
“The difference in my game today as compared to the last few weeks was that I converted my chances today,” said Sujjan.
Shamim Khan too enjoyed a brilliant start to the tournament by posting his best round at the KGA. The highlight of his round was the 35-feet birdie conversion on the 13th. Shamim, eyeing a second PGTI Order of Merit title this year, enjoyed a final flourish with a couple of birdies on the last three holes.
Shamim said, “I’ve never played so well here at KGA. Good tee shots set up lot of birdie opportunities for me. My game just took off on the back-nine. It’s an important event for me. If I perform well here, I can build on my lead in the money list.”
Himmat Rai, a former Asian Tour winner, was one-under through the front-nine but then had an exceptional run of six birdies from the 10th through the 16th. He was looking good for the sole lead on the 18th but ended up dropping a shot there after a pulling his approach to the left.
Anura Rohana, who has enjoyed some success at the KGA, with two wins, one individual and one at a team event, had yet another good outing at one of his favourite venues. Rohana, a winner on the PGTI earlier this year, mixed an eagle, five birdies and a bogey to be part of the joint lead on day one.
M Dharma, another Bengaluru-based professional, carded a flawless 67 at his home course to be one shot off the lead in tied sixth along with Delhi golfers Honey Baisoya and Veer Ahlawat.
Jyoti Randhawa, one of the star attractions of the tournament, returned an even-par-72 to be placed tied 42nd.