Atwal in shared lead after first round at Nationwide

June 20th, 2008 - 8:38 pm ICT by IANS  

Knoxville (Tennessee), June 20 (IANS) Arjun Atwal had a great start with two birdies and an even greater finish with three birdies in a row to shoot a sizzling six-under 66 that gave him a share of the lead at the end of the first round of the Knoxville Open on the Nationwide Golf Tour in the United States. Former Asian Tour No. 1 and winner of the Malaysian Open this season, Atwal, who is chasing a berth on the PGA Tour for 2009, had a bogey-free round. Interestingly, sharing the lead with Atwal was Jarrod Lyle, former Asian Tour player, and American Chris Kirk, all of whom shot 66 each.

Playing at the Fox Den Country Club, Atwal is hoping to score his first win in America, which would also help him secure a full card for 2009. He is currently 18th on Nationwide Money list from where the top-25 get cards for the next year.

“I sat on my couch, played with my kids and spent time with my family,” said Atwal, who was coming off a two-week lay-off. “It was a nice relaxing break and I was raring to go. Starting with a couple of birdie and then ending with three more made it real sweet.”

Teeing off from the tenth, Atwal had a birdie-birdie start but then went through the back stretch of the course without a birdie and was two-under at the turn. He birdied the first and then closed out with three birdies in a row at the end from seventh to ninth.

D.J. Brigman, Chris Smith, Kelly Grunewald and Argentine Sebastian Fernandez and Jeff Brehaut were all tied for fourth at five-under 67.

Lyle, who has four top-10 finishes on Nationwide and is sixth on the Money List, also played and tied for 48th at last week’s U.S. Open. He has also won the Mexican Open on Nationwide this year.

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