Panchkula, Haryana, 03-02-2015

Mukesh Kumar and Shubhankar Sharma are joint round one leaders

Arjun Singh placed third

Gurgaon-based Shubhankar Sharma and Mukesh Kumar of Mhow fired scores of three-under-66 to emerge joint round one leaders at the  PGTI Players Championship presented by Panchkula Golf Club on Wednesday. Delhi's Arjun Singh, who had taken the clubhouse lead on the rain-marred opening day, was in third place at one-under-68.
The 12 players tied for fourth at even-par-69 were the Panchkula-based duo of brothers Ranjit Singh and Randhir Singh Ghotra, Chandigarh's Abhijit Singh Chadha, Noida-based professionals Amardip Sinh Malik and Rahul Bajaj, Delhi's Dinesh Kumar, Naman Dawar and Shamim Khan, Gurgaon-based Arshdeep Tiwana and Deepinder Singh Kullar, Kolkata's Mohammad Sanju and Sri Lankan N Thangaraja. 

The rain-delay on Tuesday resulted in the first round finishing at 10 am local time on Wednesday. Shubhankar, who last year became the youngest winner on the PGTI at age 17, came up with an eagle-two on the 11th, two birdies and a bogey to take the joint lead in round one. Mukesh Kumar made four birdies and a bogey to share the lead.
There was a two-hour forty-five minute rain-delay on the opening day and play began at 10 am local time. As a result of the delayed start, only 60 out of 120 players could complete round one on Tuesday.

The overnight rain caused the tees to be pushed forward on the par-4 sixth and par-5 12th holes. Both these holes were played as par-3s in round one. The par for the course was thus reduced from 72 to 69 for the first two rounds.
Arjun Singh, a former winner on the PGTI, dropped a shot early on in his round as he missed an up and down from the bunker on the fourth. The seasoned Arjun, however, came back well with a two-under on the back-nine. The professional from the Delhi Golf Club made a good chip-putt for birdie on the 11th and landed it within six inches from a distance of 40 yards to set up birdie on the 16th.
Arjun said, “I think it's a great start considering how tough the conditions were today. In windy conditions one needs to take advantage of the holes where the wind is assisting you. I managed to do that today and took one shot at a time. I also focused well on the holes where I was playing into the wind. Some of those holes were playing really long but I drove well and kept the ball on the fairways.”

He added, “I didn't have a good season last year as I returned to competitive golf after a three-year gap. I didn't play for three years due to my shoulder surgery and a lack of motivation to get back to the game. So the year 2014 was almost like a rookie season for me. But today's round has provided me a good start to the season.”

As the strong winds took their toll on the field, brothers Ranjit Singh and Randhir Singh Ghotra shot identical scores of 69 at their home course. While Ranjit made three birdies and three bogeys, his younger brother Randhir shot three birdies, a bogey and a double-bogey on day one. Randhir came close to making a hole-in-one on the sixth as his tee shot stopped inches from the flag.

Dinesh Kumar, who also fired a 69, had the distinction of bagging back-to-back eagles on his first two holes of the tournament, both par-4s. Dinesh holed his second shot from 145 yards on the 10th and followed that up with a chip-in from 15 feet on the 11th. He had two more birdies and six bogeys in his round.

Round 1 leaderboard:
66: Shubhankar Sharma, Mukesh Kumar 
68: Arjun Singh

69: Amardip Sinh Malik, Arshdeep Tiwana, Dinesh Kumar, Randhir Singh Ghotra, Ranjit Singh, Naman Dawar, Rahul Bajaj, Abhijit Singh Chadha, Mohammad Sanju, Shamim Khan, Deepinder Singh Kullar, N Thangaraja  

About PGTI:

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. Srinivasan H R (President), PGTI's governing body comprises leading Indian golf professionals. PGTI currently has over 300 members.

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