*Gaurav Pratap Singh - Round 1
Chennai, 17 August: Seasoned Gaurav Pratap Singh (Noida) and youngster Sunhit Bishnoi (Gurugram) fired identical six-under 66 to share the opening round lead at the inaugural India Cements Pro Golf Championship here on Wednesday.
The stiff competition at the Rs. 50 lakh event being played at the TNGF Cosmo Golf Course in Chennai was evident from the tight leaderboard as seven other players were within one shot of the lead in tied third.
Gaurav Pratap Singh, who won a title in the first half of the season after a gap of 14 years, continued his rhythm with a fine effort that featured seven birdies and a bogey. The 39-year-old Gaurav, currently sixth on the TATA Steel PGTI Rankings, produced some good iron shots to pocket a couple of birdies on the back-nine. He then enjoyed a purple patch with five straight birdies from the 18th to the fourth where he set up three tap-ins. His only bogey came on the fifth.
The 22-year-old Sunhit, who turned professional last year, also garnered seven birdies and a bogey on Wednesday. Bishnoi, a bronze medalist for Haryana at the National Games last year, landed his wedges close and sank three long putts. The highlight of his round was however his tee shot on the par-4 third hole that landed just short of the green and led to a two-putt for birdie.
The seven players bunched in third place at 67 were Pukhraj Singh Gill, Jairaj Singh Sandhu, Ankur Chadha, Arjun Prasad, Bangladesh’s Jamal Hossain and the Sri Lankan duo of N Thangaraja and K Prabagaran. Thangaraja had finished runner-up at the PGTI event at TNGF last season.
PGTI Order of Merit leader Om Prakash Chouhan shot a 68 to be tied for 10th while another top contender Aman Raj returned a 70 to be tied for 27th.
Chennai-based amateur Pranav Nandakumar carded a 76 to be the highest-placed among the local players at tied 82nd.