Digboi, Assam: Twenty-four-year-old Kapil Kumar of Delhi shot a brilliant six-under-66 at the historic Digboi Golf Links to take the opening round honours at the IndianOil Servo Masters Golf 2016.
Kapil’s cousin Honey Baisoya of Delhi, the winner of last week’s event in Shillong, Bengaluru’s Udayan Mane, Gurgaon-based Manu Gandas, Chandigarh’s Feroz Singh Garewal and Noida’s Amardip Sinh Malik were among the five golfers bunched together in second place at five-under-67.
The 17th edition of the tournament was inaugurated on Wednesday morning amidst much fanfare by Mr. H S Dutta, General Manager (TS&HSE), AOD and Mr. Dipankar Ray, Executive Director, IndianOil AOD. Mr. Dutta and Mr. Ray’s ceremonial tee-off was followed by the release of balloons. Mr. Dutta and Mr. Ray also planted trees on the course during the inauguration ceremony.
The 24-year-old Kapil Kumar, who is still in the process of recovering from a serious wrist injury, displayed some excellent ball-striking on Wednesday to consistently land it within five feet of the pin and as a result put together seven birdies against a lone bogey. One of the highlights of his round was the drive to the green on the par-4 third.
Kapil, the son of current professional Gast Ram, said, “I’ve had some issues with my wrist injury due to which I had to miss three events earlier this year. But my game is now getting better with each event.
“The Digboi Golf Links is playing better than ever before. The greens are in great shape. I set up many birdie opportunities for myself today with some accurate hitting.
“I’m in 27th place in the Rolex Ranking at the moment and would ideally like to get into the top-20 after a good week here.”
Honey Baisoya, the winner from last week, continued his rich vein of form. Honey, who had posted a four-under on the final day to win last week’s event in Shillong, came up with a five-under in Digboi on Wednesday. The highlight of Baisoya’s round was the drive on the par-4 14th that almost resulted in a hole-in-one. His drive lipped out before he tapped-in for eagle.
“I feel I have the momentum from last week. It’s now about carrying it forward. I was in trouble on a couple of occasions early in the round but I managed some good recoveries. I’m the highest-ranked player here this week, so it’s a good opportunity to rise up further in the rankings with a good finish,” said Baisoya, currently placed fifth in the Rolex Ranking.
Manu Gandas also fired a 67 thanks to some long birdie conversions through the day. He made a good come back after a bogey and a double-bogey on his first four holes.
Udayan Mane, Amardip Sinh Malik and Feroz Singh Garewal also posted scores of 67 to take a share of second place.
Lucknow’s Sanjay Kumar, Noida’s Vikrant Chopra and Shamim Khan of Delhi were in joint seventh place at four-under-68.
Defending champion Shankar Das of Kolkata carded a 73 to be tied 28th.
Deven Bhumij returned a 74 to be the highest-placed local professional in tied 35th.