Shubhankar, Kaushal set pace in round one of TAKE Open

Chandigarh: Youngsters Shubhankar Sharma and Dipankar Kaushal stole the thunder from established names, Jeev Milkha Singh and Jyoti Randhawa, with the day’s best scores of four-under-68 in round one of the TAKE Open Golf Championship 2017 here.

Local lad Shubhankar and Noida’s Kaushal jointly led the field by one stroke as a bunch of five players including Chandigarh’s Sujjan Singh, Delhi’s Vikram Rana, Pradeep Kumar of Noida, Kolkata’s Md Sanju and Veer Ahlawat of Gurgaon, occupied the joint third place with identical scores of three-under-69.

Shubhankar, who moved base from Gurgaon to Chandigarh last season, was accurate off the tee and with his wedges today. The Asian Tour regular was two-under through 11 holes before he made some quality up and downs to produce three birdies over the next six holes. The 21-year-old, however, ended the day with a bogey on the last where he missed an up and down from the bunker.

Shubhankar said, “Everything seemed to fall in place for me today. I struck it well off the tee and played some good wedge shots after a long time. I also hit a lot of greens in regulation. I controlled myself really well and managed the course well.”

Kaushal, meanwhile, fresh from a top-20 last week in Noida where he posted an opening round of six-under, carried on the good work, matching Shubhankar’s opening round effort courtesy six birdies and two bogeys. The 31-year-old Kaushal came up with two chip-ins on the day, first on the third and then on the seventh.

Sujjan Singh, another local favourite and Asian Tour regular, carded a bogey-free 69 to stay within a shot of the lead. He was tied with four others including Veer Ahlawat and Md Sanju, both of whom dropped double-bogeys on their last hole, the ninth.

Among the star attractions in the field, Rashid Khan and Jyoti Randhawa made good recoveries after poor starts.

While Rashid followed his opening hole double-bogey on the 10th with three birdies to lie tied 17th at one-under-71, Jyoti, who was two-over through three holes, finally finished with an even-par-72 to occupy tied 29th place.

Jeev Milkha Singh, another local favourite, playing in the marquee group of the day along with Randhawa and Rashid which was followed by a huge crowd, made a slow start to the week with a three-over-75. Jeev bogeyed his first two holes and couldn’t get his round back on track thereafter.

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