Good start for Chowrasia, Ghei and Randhawa

March 6th, 2008 - 8:23 pm ICT by admin  

(Evening Lead)

Kota Permai (Malaysia), March 6 (IANS) Gaurav Ghei pushed aside the disappointment of a tragic disqualification to bring home a fine five-under 67 in the opening round of Maybank Malaysian Open Thursday. But going one better than Ghei was S.S.P.Chowrasia, who hit the headlines last month with a win in the joint-sanctioned Emaar-MGF Indian Masters. Chowrasia’s six-under placed him in tied eighth place on a low-scoring day, where the leader Nick Dougherty shot 10-under 62 after flirting with history, when a 59 looked possible.

Jyoti Randhawa, on a hot streak with three top-10s in his last three starts, opened with five-under 67. With Ghei he was tied for 17th place.

Rahil Gangjee, Jeev Milkha Singh and 2003 Malaysian Open winner Arjun Atwal registered identical scores of two under 70 in the first round and were all placed tied 53rd.

Shiv Kapur’s opening round of two over 74 placed him tied 131st. Kapur recently climbed from 21st to eighth on the UBS Asian Tour Order of Merit after his tied fifth finish at the Johnnie Walker Classic in India. Amandeep Johl carded four over 76 to be tied 148th.

Dougherty enjoyed his lowest round of his career when he fired a dazzling 10-under-par 62 for a two-shot lead. Dougherty, searching for a third career victory, took advantage of calm conditions at Kota Permai Golf and Country Club, blasting 10 birdies in his morning round to lead from compatriot Simon Dyson and Australian Marcus Fraser, who shot matching 64s.

Armed with a new driver and a lot of confidence, Chowrasia re-discovered his form with a 66.

Chowrasia, winner of Indian Masters last month, was pleased to be back in the mix after having missed the cut in his last two appearances. Chowrasia, a starter from the 10th, made birdies on the 11th, 12th, 15th and 18th and a solitary bogey on the 13th to make the turn at three under. He then made three more birdies on the second, fourth and seventh to end the day as the best placed Indian in the field.

“My driving and my putting was the biggest difference. I was driving it solid and my putting was much better today compared to how it was in my last two events.

“I changed my driver and I’m using my new driver (Callaway FT-5) this week. I’m striking it straight off the tee now, which helped me produce a solid score. I arrived here on Monday and have been working hard on my putting too. So I’m pleased to see the outcome today,” said the Kolkata-born star.

Randhawa, also starting on 10th, parred the first eight holes and then found his first birdie on the 18th. On the second nine, he birdied the first and second, before his first blemish on the third. Three birdies between fifth and eighth ensured another good start for Randhawa, who is aiming to get into the world’s top-50 to make the Masters next month.

Ghei joined Randhawa in tied 17th place. His round of 67 on Thursday saw him start with back-to-back birdies from the first hole to the third. He then dropped a bogey on the ninth to make the turn at two under. Ghei made further progress on the back nine picking up birdies on the 11th, 12th and 18th.

Danny Chia, hoping to end Malaysia’s long wait for a local winner in the Open, enjoyed a flying start with a 65 for a share of fourth place alongside Argentine Daniel Vancsik, South African Keith Horne and Denmark’s Soren Kjeldsen.

Dougherty admitted he had visions of shooting a magical 59 which has never been achieved on both Tours when he got to 10 under par through 13 holes. But the birdies ran out and although his flying round was one better than the course record, it will not be considered an official mark as the preferred lie ruling was in play.

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