Golf: Defending champ Khalin in mix with five-under 67

Nuh (Haryana), Nov 15 (IANS) India’s Khalin Joshi on Friday raised his hopes of becoming the first golfer to defend the Panasonic Open India crown when he shot a first round of five-under 67 to join eight other Indians in tied fifth place.

The first round began with 66 players, who were scheduled for the afternoon rounds on the opening day, beginning their challenge at the Classic Golf and Country Club.

Thailand’s Itthipat Buranatanyarat, who had fired an eight-under-64 on Thursday to take the clubhouse lead, ended up as the round one leader as no one could catch up with his score on day two.

Myanmar’s Ye Htet Aung, Australia’s Terry Pilkadaris and Indonesia’s Danny Masrin occupy the joint second place with rounds of six-under 66.

Khalin Joshi started well with birdies on three of his first four holes which included a chip-in on the third and a brilliant approach from 100 yards on the fourth that set up a tap-in. Khalin then stumbled with a couple of bogeys midway through his round before regaining control with birdies on his last two holes.

The other Indians bunched in tied fifth included Arjun Prasad, Shiv Kapur, M. Dharma and Shankar Das, all of whom shot 67s on Thursday as well as Rashid Khan, Karandeep Kochhar, Kshitij Naveed Kaul and Vikrant Chopra, the ones who fired 67s on Friday.

Rashid Khan, who has already sealed his card for the Asian Tour next year, played solid and missed just one green on Friday. Rashid was four-under through nine holes and had a good chance of going low but then had his only bad hole of the day on the second, where he misjudged the wind and landed his tee shot in the bunker which resulted in his only bogey of the day.

Karandeep Kochhar, like Rashid, made six birdies and a bogey on Friday. Kochhar, the man with a tied second finish at the Panasonic Open India 2017, created lot of chances for himself with a high percentage of fairways and greens in regulation.

Karandeep was, however, disappointed to miss birdies from within 10 feet on four occasions. Kshitij Naveed Kaul’s bogey-free effort and Vikrant Chopra’s six birdies and a bogey also placed them tied fifth.

Aman Raj and Sanjay Kumar are tied 16th with scores of four-under-68.In view of the weather conditions, the Panasonic Open India has been reduced to a 54-hole event.A four-tee start has again been scheduled for the second round on Saturday so that it can be completed in time for the third and final round which will be played on Sunday.




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