Rafick Ali, Lehal share lead in Tamil Nadu Open golf

August 27th, 2008 - 9:16 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, Aug 27 (IANS) Rafick Ali Mollah and A.S. Lehal shot rounds of five-under 65 each to be the joint leaders on the opening day of the Tamil Nadu Open Golf Championship at the par-70 Madras Gymkhana Club course, here Wednesday.Vikrant Chopra (66) was one stroke behind the joint leaders in third position.

Mollah’s 65 featured six birdies and one bogey. A 10th tee starter, Mollah was on a roll when he picked up a hat-trick of birdies on the 12th, 13th and 14th.

On the 12th, he missed a four-foot Eagle putt. He then had some trouble on the 16th, where he missed a three-foot putt for par. This bogey was the only blemish on his card. On the front nine, the Kolkata-based professional knocked down three more birdies on the third, sixth and seventh.

“It’s been a highly satisfactory day for me. My best moments came on the 12th and the sixth holes. While on the par five 12th, my nine iron approach shot left me a four feet putt for eagle, on the par three sixth, my six iron tee shot landed just three feet short of the pin,” said Rafick.

“A lot depends on putting on this course and one needs to make maximum greens in regulation to stay in contention,” he added.

Chandigarh’s Lehal dropped a stroke with a bogey on the third. He then sank a birdie on the seventh to make the turn at even par. Lehal had an immaculate back nine as he birdied the 10th, 12th, 13th, 16th and 17th.

Lehal said: “I think my best effort today included the approach shot on the 12th, which set up a six feet putt for eagle and a chip-in for birdie from the front edge of the 17th green.”

Chopra made eagle on the seventh, birdied the 12th, 17th, fifth and ninth and bogeyed the 14th and 15th.

Mukesh Kumar fired three under 67 to occupy tied fourth place along with nine others.

Chennai’s Sandeep Syal was a further stroke behind in tied 14th, while Delhi’s Ashok Kumar, the 2006-07 PGTI Order of Merit winner, fired one over 71 to be tied 40th.

Rahul Ganapathy and Harendra Gupta carded identical scores of two over 72 to be tied 48th.

C.V Yudhvir and Tarun Veeraraghavan (both two over 72) were the highest placed amateurs in tied 48th place.

Leaderboard: Rafick Ali Mollah and A.S Lehal 65; Vikrant Chopra 66; Sheeraz Kalra, R Srinivas, Shiv Prakash, Vivek Bhandari, Ali Sher, Ramesh Kumar, Mukesh Kumar, Shankar Das, Praduman Singh Guleria, Kunal Bhasin 67

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