Nuh: The Indian quartet of Shiv Kapur, Arjun Prasad, M Dharma and Shankar Das shot scores of five-under-67 to be tied third in the clubhouse on day one of the Asian Tour’s Panasonic Open India 2019 being played at the Classic Golf & Country Club.
The clubhouse lead was held by Thailand’s Itthipat Buranatanyarat who fired a breathtaking eight-under-64.
The round began at 11 am, four hours and 10 minutes behind schedule, due to poor visibility and the weather conditions. The 60 golfers in the first session of play completed their rounds while the 66 golfers in the second session will play their first round on Friday.
Shiv Kapur, the 2017 champion, started the week in high spirits as he delivered a bogey-free 67. Kapur, who teed off form the 15th, enjoyed a hot start as he birdied three of his first four holes. Shiv added two more birdies to his card on the sixth and 10th.
Kapur said, “I started off playing really well, Thought I played quite solid all day but I did not take advantage of the par 5s as I should have which was disappointing, Only birdied one of them and missed a couple of easy opportunities on the third hole and ninth here I was on the front edge of the green both times.
“All in all, I’m pleased with the start, five under is a solid start but given the way I played and the positions I put myself into, should have been a couple of shots lower, but all in all, it was a good day.
“The long wait in the morning was obviously unnerving, but don’t think it’s the first time this has happened. Have played golf enough to know this can happen, like the Singapore Open where you do a lot of sitting around or the Maybank where there is a lot of waiting during the rain delays so it’s kind of similar.”
The 20-year-old Arjun Prasad, who has had an ordinary season this year, was glad to shoot a low number after a long time. Arjun set up some birdie opportunities on the front-nine but couldn’t capitalize on them until the ninth.
Prasad got on a roll from the ninth hole onward as he sank four birdies on the trot. The best of the lot was the birdie on the 10th where he hit a fantastic shot from the fairway bunker, 130 yards out, to land it within a couple of feet of the flag. He thereafter picked up a bogey and a birdie each.
Prasad, one of India’s leading amateurs till 2016, said, “Even though it’s not been a good season for me I know I have the game and still have the self-belief to turn it around.
“As I struggled with my game, I recently decided to change my approach during practice. I’m now playing more practice rounds and spending lesser time at the range as compared to what I was doing earlier. This was a result of my coach Jesse Grewal’s analysis who told me that I was striking the ball well but I need to put up better scores.”
M Dharma and Shankar Das too struck bogey-free rounds of 67. While Dharma missed a hole-in-one by a whisker on the 17th, Shankar landed it close through the day to set up four birdie conversions within four feet.
Indian golfing legend Arjun Atwal made a promising start with a 69 to be tied 11th along with compatriots Viraj Madappa and Aadil Bedi.
Jeev Milkha Singh was a further shot back in tied 20th along with Om Prakash Chouhan and Gaurav Pratap Singh.
Jyoti Randhawa, celebrating his 300th start on the Asian Tour, shot a 72 to be tied 33rd.