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Bengaluru, Karnataka, 06 Dec 2018

Trio of Mukesh Kumar, Honey Baisoya and Harendra Gupta set the bar at six-under-66 on day one

The seasoned Mukesh Kumar of Mhow, last year’s runner-up Honey Baisoya of Delhi and Chandigarh’s Harendra Gupta set the bar at six-under-66 in round one of the Indo-MIM Presents Bengaluru Open Golf Championship 2018 Powered By Britannia, GoAir and Principal Partner Karnataka Tourism.

While Mukesh Kumar produced a flawless round at the Karnataka Golf Association (KGA) on Thursday, Honey Baisoya and Harendra Gupta made six birdies and a bogey each on a windy day.

Sri Lankan Anura Rohana occupied fourth position at five-under-67.

Mukesh Kumar, who has won on most golf courses in India except a few including KGA, began the tournament with a birdie on the 10th. He kept landing within five to seven feet on the back-nine and as a result reaped the rewards with four consecutive birdies from the 15th to the 18th.

Mukesh, a winner of over 120 titles, kept the errors out on the front-nine and set up another short birdie conversion on the closing ninth to end the day with a six-under.

Mukesh said, “I’m really eager to win here at the KGA as this is one of the few courses in India where I haven’t won an event. Over the years, I haven’t really read the greens well at this venue. But things could be different this year as I feel I have the measure of the greens this time around.

“My overall putting average has also improved over the past few weeks. I feel I’m stroking my putts well after a long time. I thank my brother and fellow professional Dinesh Raghuvanshi for helping me get my putting back on track with his timely advice.”

Honey Baisoya, who finished a close second at last year’s event, made two long birdie conversions and set up two tap-in birdies on the back-nine to make early inroads.

After a bogey on the 18th, Baisoya, a two-time winner this season, made gains on the front-nine as well as he sank birdies on the first, second and fifth. He missed out on an eagle on the first where his approach shot hit the flag.

Baisoya said, “I feel the KGA suits my game as I read the greens well here and have always had good finishes at this course. However, I’m yet to win here and that is something I would like to change.

“I’m in good rhythm at the moment as I’ve gone back to my old grip which seems to be working for me. I would like to thank my friend and fellow professional M Dharma for advising me to make some minor modifications in my swing which has been beneficial for me since last week’s Asian Tour event in Thailand.”

Harendra Gupta, who finished third at last year’s edition, was on the mark with his driving and short-game as he scored three-under on both the front-nine and back-nine.

Gupta said, “I’ve been on top of my game in the second half of the season and was also in contention at PGTI’s last event in Digboi where I eventually finished third. So I’m currently in a good frame of mind and will look to make the most of it this week.”

Anura Rohana mixed seven birdies with two bogeys during his round of 67 that placed him fourth.

Among the 10 golfers tied for fifth with scores of 68, were Bengaluru’s M Dharma, C Muniyappa, Mari Muthu, Delhi golfers Rashid Khan and Shamim Khan and Gurugram’s Digvijay Singh.

Defending champion Udayan Mane of Ahmedabad was a further shot back in tied 15th. Mane made a fantastic recovery after dropping three bogeys on the first five holes. From the sixth to the 18th he sank seven birdies and a bogey to submit a card of 69.

Asian Tour regular Chiragh Kumar of Delhi shot a 70 to be placed tied 22nd.



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