Delhi’s Rashid Khan dominated round one of the 17th TATA Open 2018, the PGTI’s season finale, with a red-hot nine-under-62 at the par-71 Golmuri Golf Course in Jamshedpur on Thursday. He thus enjoyed a one-shot lead.
Rashid, who won the PGTI’s last event in Mumbai last week, carried forward his form into the year-ending Rs. 1 crore event with an outstanding run of 10 birdies that came at the expense of just one bogey.
Om Prakash Chouhan of Mhow, the 2014 champion, and Lucknow’s Sanjeev Kumar struck sizzling 63s to be placed tied second.
Delhi’s Tapy Ghai and Noida’s Amardip Malik produced scores of 64 to occupy tied fourth.
Rashid Khan, who ended his two-year title-drought last week, seemed to continue from where he had left in Mumbai as he drove his way to the top of the leaderboard. The 27-year-old Khan made an impact early on in his round thanks to some excellent driving and tee shots that set up birdies for him on the second, third, fourth, sixth, eighth and 10th.
Rashid, who had finished a close runner-up to Shubhankar Sharma at the 2016 edition, only had a blemish on the 11th where he found the trees and as a result dropped a shot. On the back-nine, Khan’s accuracy with the 3-wood helped him collect four more birdies on the 12th, 15th, 16th and 18th.
A confident Rashid said, “I’ve been feeling the form since the Bengaluru event two weeks back. I started off with some good scores there before winning in Mumbai. I’ve been executing my shots to perfection, just the way I visualize them.
“The golf course is in excellent condition and the rain at the start of the week has made sure that the ball is holding on the green after landing. That has resulted in a lot of low scores.
“I hit my driver and 3-wood really well and thus got into good positions to attack the flag,” added Khan, who began his purple patch with an eight-under-62 in round two of the Mumbai event last week.
Om Prakash Chouhan and Sanjeev Kumar went error-free in their rounds of 63 as both left themselves a lot of short birdie putts. Sanjeev also had a chip-in birdie on the eighth.
Tapy Ghai was exceptional with the wedges making two chip-in birdies during his flawless 64. Amardip Malik, who too posted a 64, enjoyed a spectacular run of six consecutive birdies from the 15th to the second hole.
Among the prominent names, Bengaluru-based Chikkarangappa and defending champion Anura Rohana of Sri Lanka were both in tied ninth with scores of 66.
Bengaluru’s Khalin Joshi, the 2018 PGTI Order of Merit champion, fired a 69 to be tied 38th.
Among the Jamshedpur-based players, amateur Navtez Singh was in tied 51st having carded a one-under-70, amateur Aditya Panchamiya was placed tied 87th after returning a two-over-73 while professional Karan Taunk and amateur Armaan Parikh were both in tied 114th with scores of five-over-76. Chhotu Singh, another local professional shot a six-over-77 to be tied 121st.
Out of the 126 players, three players could not complete their first round due to fading light. They will resume their rounds at 0715 hrs on Friday, December 21.