Greater Noida, 23-10-2013
Rashid Khan off to a flying start with a sizzling 64
Digvijay Singh's 65 places him second
Rashid Khan of Delhi fired a sizzling eight-under-64 to take the round one lead at the BILT Open being played at the Jaypee Greens Golf Resort in Greater Noida. Digvijay Singh of the DLF Golf & Country Club posted a seven-under-65 in the opening round to be placed second.
Rashid Khan, the runner-up at last year’s BILT Open, made an ideal start to the tournament with a bogey-free 64. The three-time winner on the PGTI had a quiet front-nine as he picked up just two birdies on the second and eighth. Rashid chipped-in from the edge for birdie on the eighth.
The 22-year-old had a far more profitable back-nine. Khan gained momentum with three straight birdies on the 10th, 11th and 12th. He sank a 20-footer on the 11th and landed his third shot from 150 yards out to within a foot of the flag on the 12th. Rashid’s tee shot on the par-3 14th also stopped within a foot of the pin to give him another birdie. The wiry golfer collected a birdie on the par-5 15th before making his second chip-in of the day for birdie on the 16th.
Rashid, currently placed fifth on the Rolex Rankings, said, “I had a good opening round after a long time. I had two chip-ins today and landed it within a foot on two occasions. I’ve shot some good scores at this course in the past including a 66 earlier this year during the Avantha Masters. I’m therefore confident of performing well this week. It’s now a matter of capitalizing on this fabulous start.”
Digvijay Singh’s round of 65 was punctuated by eight birdies and a bogey. Digvijay, who started from the 10th, converted birdie putts from six to eight feet on the 12th, 13th and 18th. His good putting form continued on his second-nine as he holed birdie putts from a range of 15 to 30 feet on the first, third and fifth.
Digvijay, a winner on the Asian Tour, chipped-in for birdie on the sixth before landing his tee shot within two feet of the hole for birdie on the seventh. His lone bogey of the day came on the 15th.
Digvijay said, “I had been using the long putter for a long period of time before switching to the shorter one about five months back. However, I struggled with my putting over the last five months. Therefore, I decided to get back to the long putter this week and that worked for me today.”
Rahil Gangjee of Kolkata lies third at six-under-66. Gangjee’s opening round featured seven birdies and a bogey. Rahil rolled in five birdie putts from a range of 15 to 30 feet and chipped-in for birdie from a distance of 50 yards on the eighth.
The nine golfers in tied fourth position at three-under-69 are Delhi’s Ashok Kumar, Chiragh Kumar, Wasim Khan and Siddharth Semwal, Noida’s Vikrant Chopra, local lad Mandeo Singh Pathania of Jaypee Greens Golf Resort, Greater Noida, Abhijit Singh Chadha of Chandigarh, Panchkula-based Angad Cheema and Pune’s Moinuddin Malak.
Wasim Khan made a hole-in-one on the seventh hole during his round of 69.
Jyoti Randhawa is in tied 21st place with a score of 71 while defending champion Shamim Khan of Delhi lies tied 31st having shot a 72.
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