Tribune News Service
Panchkula, May 7
Delhi’s Rashid Khan shot a near perfect 6-under 66 to claim the lead in the opening round of the TATA Steel PGTI Players Championship at the Panchkula Golf Club here on Tuesday.
Mysuru-based Yashas Chandra fired a record three eagles during his round of 5-under 67 to share the second place with five other players, including Tricity’s Ranjit Singh and Angad Cheema.
Khan, currently placed second on the PGTI Order of Merit, used his wedges to perfection as he made some quality up and downs which accounted for four of his seven birdies. His only blemish was a bogey on the closing 18th hole, where he landed his approach beyond the green.
“I did well when I was just short of the green or on the front edge. I took advantage of all the shorter holes like the first, sixth and the eighth,” Khan said after the opening day’s play.
“I have been riding on some good form coming into this week, with a win and four top-10s this year, including the one at the Indian Open. My game has been solid and this week it’ll be all about adjusting well to the conditions,” Khan added.
Chandra, meanwhile, became only the third player on the PGTI to shot three eagles in a round. His eventful round also included three birdies and two double bogeys.
The 24-year-old started the day with a double bogey on his opening 10th. However, he made the amends on the very next hole by driving the green to set up a 10-foot eagle conversion.
His other two eagles came on the first, where he sank a 25-footer from off the green, and on the sixth, where he once again drove the green and drained it from 10 feet. He ended up with three eagle-twos — a first on the PGTI.
The two players who have previously made three eagles in a round at a PGTI event are two-time Indian Open champion Ali Sher and Veer Ahlawat.
Sher had achieved the feat at the PGTI Players Championship at the Panchkula Golf Club in 2010, while Ahlawat equaled the record at the 2017 TATA Open at the Golmuri Golf Club in Jamshedpur.
“My driving and putting were outstanding today. It’s great to have the rare distinction of shooting three eagles in a round. All of them being eagle-twos made it even more special,” said Chandra.
Chandigarh’s Ranjit Singh began the tournament with an eagle on the par-4 first. He saved another couple of shots as a result of a chip-in on the par-4 sixth.
The 44-year-old also made three birdies and two bogeys on the front-nine to be 5-under at the turn. The seasoned professional then had a sedate back-nine, managing to keep the errors out to end the day at 5-under 67 and tied second.
“All credit to Jeev Milkha Singh, who worked with me on improving my putting for almost two months. He has been instrumental in helping me make some minor adjustments in my putting. All that hard work is now beginning to show results as I’ve already posted some decent scores this season,” said Ranjit.
Panchkula’s Angad Cheema, meanwhile, mixed seven birdies with a couple of bogeys to grab a share of the second place.
Three other golfers in the joint second position were Gurugram-based Tapy Ghai, Om Prakash Chouhan of Mhow and Bengaluru’s Syed Saqib Ahmed.
Veteran Jyoti Randhawa, who is playing at the Panchkula Golf Club for the first time, carded an even-par 72 and was tied 33rd at the end of the opening round.
Defending champion N Thangaraja of Sri Lanka was tied 59th as a result of his 74.
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