Randhawa one short of leaders after good start at SAIL Open

February 20th, 2008 - 8:39 pm ICT by admin  

Noida, Feb 20 (IANS) Jyoti Randhawa, one of the big pre-tournament favourites, got off to yet another great start, which placed him one shot behind twin leaders Ross Bain of Scotland and Australian Tony Carolan at the end of the first round in the $400,000 SAIL Open, being presented by Jaypee Greens here Wednesday. Randhawa, who loves the wide open and long fairways at the Greg Norman designed Jaypee Greens course, may well have joined the leaders but for a bogey on his finishing hole, where he missed a five-footer for par on the ninth.

Scotsman Bain and Aussie Carolan made good use of the near-perfect conditions under a warm sun to bring home six-under 66 each and occupy the joint leader possession after the first round.

Bain had a bogey-free round of 66, while Carolan had seven birdies and one bogey.

Randhawa, who won the BILT Open at the same course in 2006, was on fire starting with an eagle two, when he almost drove the green on the short 354-yard par-four tenth hole. He was just about 10 feet short of the green but decided to use the putter and holed it.

He then sank birdies on the 13th and 18th to be four-under at the turn. He also birdied the second and the seventh, but dropped a shot on the ninth.

“I went into the left trees and came out pretty well, but missed a short five-foot putt for par,” Randhawa said.

“It was a good start, but disappointing to finish with a bogey on the ninth,” he said.

Commenting about the beautiful Jaypee Greens, Randhawa, who loves the wide open course, where he can hit the ball long said: “As for the course, well when you feel a little disappointed after shooting a five-under, that says all about the course.”

“The highlight of the day came right at the start with that eagle two. I drove to just about 10 feet short of the green and then decided to put from there and it dropped,” he said. “Things could have been better but I missed a few short ones of about four-five feet.”

On a wide open course, with no rough, the going was fairly easy with two players shooting six-under and another six players carding five-under 67 each.

Three of the six, who occupied the third place, were Australians, but otherwise it was a Pan-Asia leaderboard with another six players at four-under 68.

The next best Indian, behind Randhawa, was surprisingly Dinesh Kumar, who brought home a four-under 68 to be tied ninth.

Dinesh began with a birdie on the first and then went on to pick up two more birdies on the fourth and 10th before sinking an eagle on the 12th. He dropped a stroke with a bogey on the 16th.

“I’m really pleased with my first round show and hope to keep the momentum going during the rest of the tournament,” said an upbeat Dinesh.

Four other Indians, veteran Ali Sher, Harinder Gupta, Vinod Kumar and unheralded Gaurav Pratap Singh were all at three-under 69.

Gaganjeet Bhullar, six-under after 12 holes, dropped four shots between the 14th and 16th with a bogey, double bogey, bogey sequence to finish at two-under 70.

S.S.P. Chowrasia, making his first appearance since winning Emaar-MGF Indian Masters, had a relatively quiet day with an even par 72 that placed him on the 51st spot with 32 others including seasoned Gaurav Ghei, Amandeep Johl, Harmeet Kahlon and youngsters Anirban Lahiri and Rahul Ganapathy.

Another Asian Tour regular Rahil Gangjee managed a one-over 73 on the first round.

Bain who went through the Qualifying School earlier this year, shot a bogey-free six-under 66 to take early lead. His round of six-under 66 included an eagle on the 12th and birdies on the fourth, eighth, 15th and 16th.

“It was a pretty solid round. I did have some poor shots on the front nine, but got away with it as there is not much rough,” said the Dubai-based Bain, who last year played all four rounds and was the highest placed Scotsman at the British Open.

“I felt I could go lower today, but had a lip-out on the 17th and left my putt hanging on the hole on the 18th,” he added before predicting a low-scoring tournament with a total of about 20-under.

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