Digvijay Singh makes impressive return to competitive golf after two months with sizzling 62 at Bengal Open 2020, seizes the lead
The seasoned Digvijay Singh made an impressive return to competitive golf after two months as he shot a sizzling opening round of eight-under-62 to seize the lead at the TATA Steel PGTI’s Bengal Open Golf Championship 2020 being played at the Tollygunge Club in Kolkata.
The Gurugram-based Digvijay, a former Asian Tour winner who missed his PGTI full card at the Qualifying School in January this year, is playing his first tournament of the 2020 season.
Faridabad’s Abhinav Lohan also made an impact on day one of the Rs. 30 lakh event as he shot a 63 to be placed second.
Digvijay Singh, a winner of 13 professional titles, was off to a flying start with a birdie on the first but ended up having a sedate front-nine as he could only collect a birdie and bogey over the next eight holes.
The 48-year-old Digvijay’s fortunes were on the upswing on the back-nine when he made eagle-birdie on the 10th and 11th draining a 20-footer on the latter. Singh gained further momentum with an extraordinary par-save on the 12th where he came up with his best shot of the round.
On the 12th, Digvijay was 60 yards from the green when he exploited a narrow gap between the trees with his outstanding nine-iron third shot to land it within five feet of the pin and thereby salvage a morale-boosting par.
Digvijay then enjoyed a final flourish with birdies on the last four holes. He chipped-in on the 15th and left himself five feet conversions on the 16th and 17th and a tap-in on the 18th where he almost holed his tee shot.
Digvijay, also an expert skydiver, said, “I have been busy setting up my skydiving business since last year. That’s the reason I couldn’t dedicate enough time to golf and ended up missing quite a few events in 2019. Eventually, I had to head to the PGTI Qualifying School in January this year.
“But I didn’t play well at the Q School and thereafter suffered a shoulder injury while skydiving. These factors combined to keep me away from golf for almost two months. Shooting such a low score in my first competitive round in two months is quite encouraging.
“I didn’t miss anything within six feet today and played some quality wedge shots. I had a quiet front-nine before my round took flight with the eagle on the 10th. The brilliant par-save on the 12th added further momentum to my round as I could’ve easily bogeyed that hole,” added Digvijay, who had a tied third finish at a PGTI event played at Tollygunge Club in 2016.
Abhinav Lohan’s round was highlighted by his four straight birdies from the fourth to the seventh where he sank three putts from a range of 10 to 15 feet. Lohan, who earned his maiden title in December last year, added three more birdies on the back-nine thanks to his hot putter. Abhinav’s longest conversion of the day was a 30-footer on the 13th.
Lohan said, “I made the most of all my opportunities today and putted really well. I’ll draw a lot of confidence from the fact that this is my best round at Tollygunge so far.
“The run of four successive birdies on the front-nine set up the round for me. Picking up a birdie on the fifth was particularly satisfying as it had a tough pin position.”
The five golfers bunched in tied third with scores of 65 were the Chandigarh duo of Aadil Bedi and Karandeep Kochhar, Bengaluru’s C Muniyappa, Om Prakash Chouhan of Mhow and Sri Lanka’s N Thangaraja.
Rookie Kartik Sharma of Gurugram struck five straight birdies during his round of 66 which placed him tied eighth along with Kolkata’s Viraj Madappa and veteran Mukesh Kumar of Mhow.
Among those in tied 11th at 67 were PGTI Order of Merit leader Udayan Mane of Pune, Bengaluru’s Khalin Joshi and the Kolkata duo of Shankar Das and Sunit Chowrasia.
Bengalureans Rahil Gangjee and Chikkarangappa as well as defending champion Md Zamal Hossain Mollah of Bangladesh were a further shot back in tied 20th.
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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