Jamshedpur: Delhi’s Ashok Kumar took the round one lead at the 9th TATA Open after firing a whirlwind seven under 59 at the Golmuri Golf Course. Vikrant Chopra, Vijay Kumar and Rafick Ali Mollah are tied second with matching scores of five under. While Vikrant and Vijay fired scores of five under 67 at Beldih, Rafick posted his five under 61 at Golmuri.
On Thursday one half of the field played its 18 holes on the par 72 Beldih Golf Course while the golfers in the other half completed their rounds at the par 66 Golmuri Golf Course. On Friday both halves of the field will switch venues (those who played at Beldih on day one, play eighteen holes at Golmuri on day two and vice-versa).
Ashok Kumar’s first round 59 featured eight birdies and a bogey. He dropped a bogey on the third but came back strongly firing birdies on the fourth, sixth, seventh and eighth to be three under at the turn. Ashok continued his charge at the new course at Golmuri with four more birdies on the back nine. His accurate hitting set up birdie putts within five feet on the 10th, 14th, 17th and 18th, which he successfully converted.
Ashok said, “My hitting was exceptional today. I did not leave myself too many long putts as I hit it pretty close on most holes. The longest birdie putt I sank today was a 15 footer on the sixth. The new course at Golmuri is in great shape and is a delight for the professionals.”
Vikrant Chopra’s 67 was punctuated by an eagle, five birdies and two bogeys. He began with a birdie on the first, hitting his tee shot to within six feet. Vikrant followed that up with another birdie on the third where he made a good up and down from the bunker.
Chopra’s bogey on the 10th was followed by eagle-birdie-birdie on the 12th, 13th and 14th. On the 12th, Vikrant hit his second shot, a three iron, to within three feet for an easy eagle putt. The Delhi golfer made bogey-birdie on the 15th and 16th before finishing his day at five under.
Rafick Ali Mollah of Kolkata, who is currently tied second, after having fired five under 61 at Golmuri, made a hole-in-one on the 11th hole.
Vijay Kumar of Lucknow made seven birdies against two bogeys in his round of 67.
Bangladesh’s Md Zamal Hossain Mollah lies fifth at the moment as he carded a four under 62 at Golmuri.
Ajeetesh Sandhu of Chandigarh was the other player besides Rafick Ali Mollah who made a hole-in-one in round one. Ajeetesh, currently tied sixth at three under 69, achieved the feat on the first hole at Beldih with his seven iron tee shot.
Defending champion Gurki Shergill, Ali Sher, Chiragh Kumar and Manav Jaini share sixth place along with Ajeetesh Sandhu. Shergill made five birdies and two bogeys in his round of 69 at Beldih.