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Mauritius, 30 Nov 2017

Arjun Atwal’s dazzling nine-under-62 gives him four-shot lead in round one of AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open

Arjun Atwal of India fired a superb nine-under-62 without playing a practice round to lead by four shots on the first day at the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open on Thursday.
 
The former Asian Tour number one posted a flawless round highlighted by seven birdies and one eagle to hold a commanding lead over Miguel Tabuena of the Philippines, Sebastian Heisele of Germany, Louis de Jager of South Africa and Adilson Da Silva of Brazil at the Heritage Golf Club.
 
Atwal, an eight-time Asian Tour champion, took advantage of a hot putter as he totalled 26 putts which included 10 one putts at the €1million (approximately US$1.07 million) event sanctioned by the European Tour, Asian Tour and Sunshine Tour. The last time Atwal shot a 62 was in the opening round of the 2005 Indonesia Open. The score remains his lowest on the Asian Tour.
 
Atwal, who is the Captain for Team Asia at the 2018 EurAsia Cup, arrived late Wednesday evening after traveling 16 hours via Dubai from Kuala Lumpur where he attended a press conference to announce his team for the match-play event against Europe next year.
 
The 44-year-old, the first Indian to win on the PGA Tour at the 2010 Wyndham Championship, exceeded his own expectations by shooting 31 in each half with the highlight of his day coming on the 14th hole where he sank a huge 25-foot eagle putt. His score of 62 is also the new course record at the Heritage Golf Club.

Arjun replaced the course record of 65 set by Coetzee, Jeunghun Wang of Korea, Carlos Pigem of Spain and Thorbjorn Olesen of Denmark in 2015.

Atwal, whose last international win came at the Asian Tour’s 2014 Dubai Open, said, “I was in Kuala Lumpur the last two days to announce the players in Team Asia for the EurAsia Cup and I had some media activities to do. I had no practice round and straight on the first tee.
 
“I’m pleased and shocked. I took a very long route coming here. I came through Dubai and it took me 16 hours to get here. I was tired and I didn’t really expect anything. Sometimes when you don’t expect much, you get a lot out of it.
 
“I missed two or three fairways but for most of the part I kept the ball in front of me. I played here two years ago but I don’t really remember the course. I made a few putts and every time you want to shoot low, that’s what you have to do.
 
“I found it pretty tough out there but I didn’t make any mistakes and I had a hot putter. The wind was on and off. It wasn’t very gusty. I’m looking forward to some rest and see what happens tomorrow.
 
“It is very important to play a practice round if you haven’t played the course before. It is kind of important but not the end of the world especially for a guy who has played enough golf in his life,” added Arjun, who missed the cut the last time he played at the Heritage course in 2015.

Atwal is currently ranked 55th on the Order of Merit. He needs a good result this week to stay inside the top-60 at the end of the 2017 season to retain his full Asian Tour card.
 
Shubhankar Sharma was the next best Indian in tied 20th place with a score of three-under-68.
 
SSP Chawrasia and Shiv Kapur carded scores of 69 to be tied 33rd.
 
The three other Indians with sub-par opening rounds were Chiragh Kumar, Honey Baisoya and Gaganjeet Bhullar. The trio returned 70s to be tied 46th. 
 
Chikkarangappa's 71 placed him tied 64th.
 
Source: Asian Tour
 
 

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