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Chowrasia takes lead

Sports Reporter

CHENNAI: S.S.P. Chowrasia of Kolkata shot a fine eight-under par 64 to grab the lead in the opening round of The Hindu Open, the third leg of the Amby Valley PGAI Tour, at the Cosmo-TNGF golf course here on Wednesday.

Ranjit Singh, with a card of six-under 66, was placed second. Three players — defending champion Ashok Kumar, Kolkata's Arjun Singh and Pakistani Waheed Balouch — were tied for the third place at five-under par 67. Former champion Vijay Kumar and Vishal Singh shared the sixth spot at 68. The 27-year-old Cosmopolitan course caddy N. Uthamanathan was the best amongst the locals scoring a 69 to be tied for eighth along with Harinder Gupta, Matloob Rana, Mohd. Salim and Randhir Ghotra.

Chowrasia attacked from the doglegged first fairway to set up a birdie with a chip to four-feet from the pin. It was just the beginning of a superb round as the 27-year-old unleashed an array of strokes around the green that helped him garner as many as three more birdies on the front nine. The birdies came on the second, fourth and seventh. At the turn, Chowrasia's game got better when he stroked birdies with relative ease on the 10th, 12th, 13th and 15th holes. On the par-5 16th, Chowrasia made a terrific birdie, bailing out of the deep bunker on the left.

However on the par-3 17th, the most difficult hole of the course, the Kolkatan hit the green but the ball bounced and landed in the rough on the right from where he lost the only stroke of the day. "There was no way that I could have chipped. I had to putt. A bogey was inevitable on that hole," said Chowrasia.

Similar fashion

Ranjit Singh also began in a similar fashion making birdies on the first two holes. The 30-year-old saved two more strokes on the sixth and ninth holes before making the turn.

On the back nine, with three birdies in the first four holes, Ranjit was seven-under for the day. However, he three-putted on the 15th to drop a shot while also missing another birdie on the 16th from close distance.

The top scores (after 18 holes):

Pro: 1. S.S.P. Chowrasia (Kol) 64; 2. Ranjit Singh (Chd) 66; 3. Ashok Kumar (Del) 67, Arjun Singh (Kol) 67, Waheed Balouch (Pak) 67; 4. Vishal Singh (Jaipur) 68, Vijay Kumar (Lucknow) 68;

5. Harinder Gupta (Chd) 69, Matloob Rana (Pak) 69, Mohd. Salim (Kol) 69, N. Uthamanathan (Che) 69, Randhir Ghotra (Che) 69; 6. Amritinder Singh 70, Digvijay Singh (both Gurgaon) 70.

Amateurs: Abhishek Jha 73, L. Selvadurai 73.

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