Ahmedabad: Abhijit Singh Chadha of Chandigarh produced a five-under-67 in tough conditions on a rain-hit day at the Kalhaar Blues & Greens golf course to take the opening round lead at the TAKE Classic.
Chadha is being pursued by a bunch of five golfers who share second place at four-under-68. The chasing pack includes Bengalurean M Dharma and Sri Lankan N Thangaraja, both of whom sank two eagles each on Wednesday, as well as Panchkula-based Shubhankar Sharma, Mukesh Kumar of Mhow and Mumbai’s Anil Bajrang Mane.
Abhijit Singh Chadha, a two-time winner on the PGTI, was off to a terrific start with three birdies on the first five holes before stumbling onto a bogey-birdie-double bogey stretch on the next three holes. He found the water with his tee shot on the eighth that resulted in a double bogey.
Chadha, who won his last title on the PGTI about two years back, came back strongly on the back-nine as he added four more birdies to his card.
The 26-year-old Chadha said, “It was an excellent round for me today. I hit the ball well, not so good off the tee though. But my putting was the highlight of my round. I hit it quite close wherever I made birdies.
“I worked with my friend and fellow professional Gurbaaz Mann on my putting during the off season. I feel the work I put in on my putting is now showing the results. One needs to convert most opportunities on the greens here at Kalhaar as the greens are rolling well.
“The 12th and 15th holes are the most challenging for me on this course as they really make you think about where to place your ball. Both the holes are very well designed and tight.
“The second half of the PGTI season looks packed and everyone is excited about that. A good start or a win for me here could really set up the season for me,” added Abhijit, who is currently ranked 32nd on the PGTI Order of Merit with one top-10 from five starts.
M Dharma came up with two eagles, besides three birdies and three bogeys, during his round of 68. On both occasions he landed his approach shots within four feet.
N Thangaraja, like Dharma, also fired two eagles, three birdies and three bogeys. Thangaraja chipped-in for eagle from 30 yards on the 12th before converting a 15-footer for his second eagle on the 14th.
Mukesh Kumar and Anil Bajrang Mane, both posted bogey-free rounds of 68. Mukesh chipped-in for eagle on the fifth.
Shubhankar Sharma, one of the pre-tournament favourites, was six-under through 14 holes before slipping with a double bogey-bogey on the 15th and 16th. He closed with a birdie on the last to be in a five-way tie for second at 68.
Among the other prominent names, Delhi duo of Shamim Khan (Order of Merit leader) and Chiragh Kumar shot scores of even-par-72 to be tied 23rd while Bengaluru’s Khalin Joshi returned a three-over-75 to be tied 60th.
A total of six players out of 125 could not complete their rounds on Wednesday as play was suspended at 7 pm due to fading light. They will resume their rounds at 7 am on Thursday. One hour of play was lost on Wednesday as play was suspended between 3:45 pm and 4:45 pm local time due to heavy rain.