Kapur & Co Lead India's Charge in Day 1 of Panasonic Open

Gurugram, Nov 14 (PTI) Indian golfers Shiv Kapur, Arjun Prasad, M Dharma and Shankar Das shot identical scores of five-under-67 to be tied third behind leader Thai Itthipat Buranatanyarat on day one of the USD 400,000 Panasonic Open India 2019 here on Thursday.

The clubhouse lead was held by Itthipat, 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 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.

Kapur, the 2017 champion, started the week in high spirits as he delivered a bogey-free 67.

Kapur, who teed off from the 15th, enjoyed a hot start as he birdied three of his first four holes. He added two more birdies to his card on the sixth and 10th.

"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," Kapur later said.

"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 20-year-old Arjun Prasad, who has had an ordinary season this year, was glad to shoot a low number after a long time.

Prasad set up some birdie opportunities on the front-nine but couldn't capitalise on them until the ninth.

Prasad got on a roll from the ninth hole onwards 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."

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. Das 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. PTI SSC

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