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Mukesh Kumar takes day's honours

BANGALORE: Last week he was in blazing form at Chennai at the Hyundai-TNGF Open bagging the title with a late charge, here at the first round of the Hero Honda Open at the KGA, Mukesh Kumar continued in the same awesome vein to card a brilliant five under 67 and stamp his class all over again.Mukesh was followed by two Pakistani challengers on the leaderboard, Javed Inayat and Matloob Ahmed Rana, who trailed by three strokes. Jyoti Randhawa, bleary eyed and showing signs of travel fatigue too played well to end up one under 71.

Mukesh Kumar, the 39-year-old professional from Military Headquarters of Warfare (Mhow) is on a roll. Topping the prize money list on last year's Amby Valley PGAI tour, Mukesh started this season with a bang at Chennai. The Bangalore course played havoc with most of the other golfers because of the soft underfoot conditions thanks to the lashing rains but held no devil for Mukesh. Teeing off from the tenth hole, Mukesh began with a birdie putted in from three feet. He continued with birdies on the 13th (from 12 feet), 13th where he missed an eagle putt from 25 feet, third, fifth where another eagle putt from 10 feet fell agonisingly short and eighth. Mukesh's only bad hole was on the sixth where he three putted from 15 feet.

Hot on Mukesh's heels were the two golfers from Pakistan — Javed Inayat and Matloob Rana. Javed revelled at the KGA where he is making his first appearance and the eagle on the third hole was worth remembering. Javed, taking his second shot on the par four hole with a sand wedge hit to 90 yards, saw the ball rolling in despite overshooting the pin.

The scores (first round): Mukesh Kumar (67), Javed Inayat and Matloob Rana (70), Ajay Gupta, Jyoti Randhawa, Karanjit Singh and SSP Chowrasia (71 each), Harinder Gupta (72), Ashok Kumar, C Muniyappa, Rahul Ganapathy and Sanjay Kumar (73 each).Amateurs: P. Krishna (80), Jaibir Singh (83), Hitesh Joshi (84); Riad Mahmood (85),Ashray Goel and MK Satyaprasad (86 each) Aditya Singh and CG Somaiah (88 each),IK Ponappa (90),Khalin Joshi (98).

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