SSP Chawrasia turned in a flawless six-under 66 to be the best-placed Indian golfer at tied third after the opening round of the USD 750,000 Leopalace21 Myanmar Open here today. Chawrasia was two shots behind leader Filipino Antonio Lascuna (64).
Rashid Khan carded a bogey-free 67 to be tied sixth while three others—Himmat Rai, Shiv Kapur and Arjun Atwal—shot 68 each and were tied 13th.
Rai closed with a bogey, while Kapur bogeyed twice with three-putts on his 16th and 17th holes, the seventh and eighth of the course, and Atwal dropped a shot each on two par-fives during 68 at the Royal Mingalardon Golf and Country Club.
Gaganjeet Bhullar (70), who closed with a double bogey, was tied 49th, while Rahil Gangjee (71) was tied 64th and Chiragh Kumar (73) was tied 104th.
Chawrasia, who ended last week in Singapore with a 67, carried on the form and began strongly with four birdies between the second and sixth holes. But there were only two more birdies after that.
“It was a nice and clean round with six birdies and no bogeys. The game is in a good place and I found all the fairways except two and even they there were close by. I gave myself decent chances and converted quite a few of them,” Chawrasia said,
“The golf course is somewhat like a few courses we used to play on back in India on the Indian Tour. It was hot but not unbearable because it was not humid.”
Paired in one of the early morning groups, Rashid teed off from the tenth and started solidly with birdies on 12th, 17th and 18th to turn in three-under. He maintained the tempo with birdies on second and ninth to finish five-under.
Rashid, speaking of his opening round, said, “I am quite satisfied with it even though I did not drive well, but that is something I am working on. I missed quite a few fairways, but every time I did get to the fairway, I either birdied or gave myself a chance.”
Kapur started from the 10th and bogeyed the 12th, but the eagle on par-five 14th put him back on the rails. He had a nice run of three birdies from 17th the first as he turned around. Two more birdies on the fifth and sixth, brought him to six-under, before the setback at the close.
Himmat, who began his resurgence with two top-three finishes at the Asian Tour and then finished tied 23 at Singapore Open last week, had a birdie-birdie start.
A dropped shot on third and a birdie on sixth saw him turn in two-under. He started the return journey with a bogey, but birdies on 11th, 15th and the 18th saw him finish at 68. “The birdie at the end is always a nice feeling and I will take a 68 start.”
Shooting a bogey-free 64, Filipino Antonio Lascuna, who started from the tenth, had a great run on his back nine from first to fifth, a stretch over which he had four birdies followed by an eagle on par-5 fifth.