Bangalore: American Greg Moss rediscovered some of his best form after carding a scintillating 10-under-par 62 to take the opening round honours at the TAKE Solutions India Masters on Wednesday.
The 29-year-old Moss, who is also an avid competitive eater, sank 10 birdies against no bogeys to grab a two-shot lead over local hope and one-time Asian Tour winner Himmat Rai at the Eagleton-The Golf Village.
Title holder Chikka S of India, compatriot Rashid Khan and Japan’s Masaru Takahashi were among the six players bunched in third place following matching 65s at the US$120,000 Asian Development Tour (ADT) event.
Order of Merit leader Casey O’Toole of the United States returned with a 68 to tie in 17th position at the TAKE Solutions India Masters, which is the ADT’s first and only stop in India this season.
Moss, who has won a total of 15 titles in his eating career, rode on a hot putter for a stunning round which matched his personal best 18-hole record set in the first round of the Charming Yeangder ADT in Chinese Taipei earlier in March.
“I putted really well today, especially on the back nine. I played with Casey (O’Toole), the Order of Merit leader who is also my roommate this week, and I was just trying to keep up with him out there,” said Moss.
Starting from the first, Moss reeled in five straight birdies starting from the sixth before adding another four successive ones from the 12th hole. His highlight of the day came on the par-four 17th where he sank a 35-footer for his last birdie of the day.
“This is my second time in India and my first time playing at Eagleton. I am really happy with how I played. I hit the ball good and I didn’t make any mistakes. Hopefully I can keep it like that for the next few rounds,” added Moss.
Moss’s solid round of 62 would have broken the course record set by local ace Anirban Lahiri if not for the preferred lies in play.
Khan, who started from the 10th, was delighted with his commendable round where he fired one eagle and six birdies against a lone bogey.
“I hit the ball really good today. I am very happy with how I played. My iron-shots were really good today but my short game could have been better. I left a few putts out there,” said the 24-year-old Indian, who nailed a five-wood to 10 feet for his eagle on the par-five fourth hole.
“I think the scores will be very low this week. You need to hit as many fairways as you can to score out there. I guess my experience of playing on the Asian Tour helped a lot. I am looking forward to tomorrow,” added Khan, a two-time winner on the Asian Tour.
With the Olympic Games looming in 2016 where golf will be reintroduced as a medal sport, players in the region could earn their spots in Rio de Janeiro by earning OWGR points through the Asian Tour and ADT.
The ADT is celebrating its sixth season where it has grown immensely from five events in the first year in 2010 to a record 27 tournaments in 2015.
Leading first round scores:
62 – Greg MOSS (USA)
64 – Himmat RAI (IND)
65 – Rashid KHAN (IND), Trishul CHINNAPPA (IND), N.THANGARAJA (IND), Masaru TAKAHASHI (JPN), Chikka S (IND), Shubhankar SHARMA (IND)
66 – Ashok KUMAR (IND), Vikrant CHOPRA (IND), Naman DAWAR (IND), Anura ROHANA (SRI)