Chopra off to great start, second at World Golf Championships

August 1st, 2008 - 1:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Akron (Ohio), Aug 1 (IANS) Daniel Chopra was off to a brilliant start that put him in tied second place despite a late bogey in the first round of the World Golf Championships Bridgestone Invitational here. Indo-Swede Chopra, winner of the Mercedes Benz Championships at the start of the year, shot a first round card of three-under par 67 and was one shot behind leader Retief Goosen (66).

Chopra, normally an aggressive player, admitted to some cautious play. “Actually I didn’t really know what to expect. I never played here before. Today was my first round other than the two practice rounds I played.

“Pretty tough golf course, really. So I tried to play as conservative as I possibly could. If I could get the ball in the fairway, try to put it somewhere in the middle of the green and try and two-putt from there. That’s pretty much what I did all day,” said Chopra, who had one bogey and the four birdies.

Chopra opened with two successive birdies on first two holes but the bogey on eighth, his only one of the day, saw him turn in one-under. He birdied the 14th and 16th to finish at three-under.

Chopra is coming after taking some time off during which he worked on his swing. “(I have) been working on a few things. (I) took some time off after Buick and came back here and just been working on a few things trying to get myself a little bit more consistent.

“So not overly confident starting the week just because you’re playing the first round with some reasonably major changes, not huge, but enough to make you feel uncomfortable. But it worked out pretty well.”

Chopra is also due to tee up at the US PGA Championships, the year’s last Major at Oakland Hills. “Well, I played British Open qualifier there. I think it was last year. In my mind I thought it was the toughest golf course I had ever played and still believe that.

“I played Augusta this year for the first time and Torrey Pines and the US Open, but those don’t even come close to how hard Oakland Hills will play.”

Goosen took the lead in the morning session itself. He shot a 66, spoiled by just one bogey.

Vijay Singh could have joined Goosen in the lead as he was five under but he then ran into a double bogey on the 18th to finish at 67.

Open champion Padraig Harrington, meanwhile, recovered from a shaky start on his return to action following his Royal Birkdale triumph. After a solid opening four holes from the 10th tee, Harrington carded a double bogey six at the 14th hole to go two over par.

He grabbed those shots back with successive birdies at the 16th and 17th holes only to bogey the 18th to turn for home in a one-over-par 36. The up-and-down ride continued with four birdies and two bogeys for a 69.

Darren Clarke, winner in 2003, had four each of birdies and bogeys for a level par 70.

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