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Chandigarh, 01 Nov 2018

Shiv Kapur makes memorable return to Chandigarh after two decades, posts a 65 to equal course record and take lead

Local boys Karandeep Kochhar and Abhijit Singh Chadha hot on the leader’s heels; Slow start for Jeev Milkha Singh; Sahil Kulkarni shoots hole-in-one

The Jeev Milkha Singh Invitational 2018 presented by TAKE Solutions got off to a cracking start at the Chandigarh Golf Club on Thursday as Shiv Kapur, one of the star attractions at the Rs. 1.5 crore event, made a memorable return to The City Beautiful after almost two decades by posting a seven-under-65 that equaled the course record and gave him the first round lead.

Four-time Asian Tour winner Kapur’s exceptional bogey-free effort saw him match the previous course record scores set by Mukesh Kumar, Gaganjeet Bhullar, Gaurav Ghei and Ranjit Singh.

Chandigarh lads Karandeep Kochhar (66) and Abhijit Singh Chadha (67), both playing at their home course, were hot on the leader’s heels in second and tied third places respectively. Om Prakash Chouhan (67) of Mhow also took a share of third place along with Chadha.

Golfing legend and tournament host Jeev Milkha Singh, also playing in front of his home crowd, made a slow start with a 77 that placed him tied 99th.

For 36-year-old Shiv Kapur, appearing in a professional event at the Chandigarh Golf Club for the first time, it was a tale of two halves on day one. Kapur last played at the venue as a junior back in 1998 at a tournament he went on to win.

Shiv, a 10th tee starter in round one, took time to find his feet on the course as he managed birdies on the 13th and 15th but also missed some opportunities on the back-nine. He then settled down and charged ahead of the rest with five birdies on the front-nine which included four conversions from 10 to 15 feet. He bagged birdies on all par-4s on the front-nine barring the sixth.

The Delhi-based Kapur, who made a grand comeback on the international stage with three titles on the Asian Tour in 2017 after an 11-year-long title drought, said, “I last played as a junior here but I have some good memories from those days. I like the layout here as one needs to shape the ball both ways.

“Most greens are different here in terms of the pace, so I was just trying to settle down in the first half. I felt I got into the groove in the second half of my round as I converted my opportunities on the greens. When I moved to four-under for the day on the fourth, the confidence was soaring and I knew I could end up with a pretty good score.

“Importantly, I didn’t drop any shots today and missed just two greens and two fairways. I would like to improve on the par-5s though as I didn’t really play them well today.”

Karandeep Kochhar, fresh from a top-20 at last week’s Panasonic Open India in Delhi, also produced a flawless effort to trail the leader by one. The 19-year-old Kochhar sank three of his six birdies from a range of 15 to 20 feet and recovered well from the trees to pick up a shot on the 13th.

Kochhar, who at 17 became the youngest winner on the PGTI back in 2016 while still an amateur, said, “I’m coming into this event at the back of some good scores at last week’s Asian Tour event. I shot a five-under and a four-under in my last two rounds in Delhi, so the confidence is high.

“I got myself into good positions off the tee today and also kept sinking the long birdie putts. So that was the key to my performance today. I have the added advantage of playing in familiar conditions at my home turf so I expect to do well this week.”

Om Prakash Chouhan, currently sixth on the PGTI Order of Merit, secured an eagle and three birdies in his round and was tied for third with another local Abhijit Singh Chadha who mixed an eagle and four birdies with a bogey.

Sri Lankan Mithun Perera and Bengaluru’s C Muniyappa delivered scores of 68 to be tied fifth.

Noida’s Amardip Malik drained two eagles during his round of 69. He was in tied seventh along with the likes of SSP Chawrasia and Jyoti Randhawa.

Khalin Joshi, India’s newest international winner, shot a 70 to be tied 13th.

Jeev Milkha Singh didn’t have the ideal start to the week at his signature event. Jeev struggled with his tee shots and as a result picked up only three birdies in exchange for four bogeys and two double-bogeys for a score of 77.

Sahil Kulkarni of Pune struck a hole-in-one on the third during his round of 77. He was placed tied 99th.
 
 

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Formed in 2006, Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) is the recognised official body of professional golf in India. PGTI's objective is to promote professional golf in the country, as well as to give players an opportunity to be involved in the decision making on all aspects of the game. Headed by Mr. Gautam Thapar (President), PGTI's governing body comprises leading Indian golf professionals. PGTI currently has over 300 members.

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