Aman Raj blasts a 65 for the first round lead at Noida Golf Course

Aman Raj Round 1 leaderNoida: Patna’s Aman Raj came up with a terrific seven-under-65 to take the lead in round one of the PGTI Players Championship at Noida Golf Course.

Delhi’s Honey Baisoya and Gurgaon-based Shivendra Singh Sisodia occupied tied second at six-under-66.

Aman Raj took the early advantage at the Noida Golf Course on Tuesday thanks to a round that featured an outstanding nine birdies against two bogeys. Aman’s hot putter ensured he was quick off the blocks as he sank some long putts to move to five-under through eight holes.

The 22-year-old, playing his second season as a professional, bogeyed the ninth but came back stronger with four more birdies on the back-nine where he landed his chip shots within a couple of feet on two occasions. The 2016 Emerging Player of the Year dropped a stroke on the 18th to end the day with a seven-under.

Aman said, “I shot an eight-under in the final round of the Jaipur event last week that helped me finish in the top-10. I feel I’ve carried forward the form and confidence from there.

“I struck it well today and didn’t miss many greens. Whenever I missed the green, I recovered with some good chips. I capitalized on all four par-5s today with birdies. I believe hitting fairways will be crucial this week as the fairways are pretty narrow here. My target score for the week will be anything above 15-under. That will give me a good chance to bag my first title.

“The first half of the 2017 season was good, but the second half has not been up to my expectations so far. However, I feel my game is coming back and I just need to keep grinding from here on,” added Aman, who is currently in 13th position on the PGTI Order of Merit.

Defending champion Honey Baisoya, who finished runner-up last week in Jaipur, continued to impress with seven birdies and a bogey in the opening round at Noida. Baisoya, a winner of three events, including one this year, made some brilliant recoveries from the bunker and the rough on at least three occasions to salvage birdies.

Shivendra Singh Sisodia also had seven birdies and a bogey to show on his card. Sisodia was two-under at the turn but his round took off after his birdie chip-in on the 12th. He collected three more birdies thereafter to end the day with a solid 66.

Local lad Amardip Sinh Malik was the highest-placed among the Noida golfers. He shot a 68 to be tied for fourth along with Mukesh Kumar of Mhow, Bengaluru’s Udayan Mane and Delhi-based Himmat Singh Rai.

Among the nine golfers bunched in tied eighth at 69 was Noida’s Vikrant Chopra.