Manu Gandas, Chikkarangappa, Rashid Khan, Ajay Baisoya share Ist round lead at Tata Steel PGTI MP Cup
New Delhi, October 5, 2021
Gurugram’s Manu Gandas, Bengaluru’s Chikkarangappa and local favourites Rashid Khan and Ajay Baisoya carded identical five-under 67 to be tied for the lead on day one of the Tata Steel PGTI MP Cup at Delhi Golf Club here on Tuesday.
Chasing the quartet at four-under 68 were Gulfam (DGC) and Shravan Desai (Ahmedabad ). The duo was clubbed together at fifth place.
Veterans SSP Chawrasia (73), Shiv Kapur (74) and Olympian Udayan Mane (75) were placed tied 50th, tied 61st and tied 76th, respectively.
Gandas was off to a great start with three birdies on the first four holes making conversions from a range of 15 to 30 feet. With two more long birdie putts on the 18th and first, he moved to five-under for the day.
Manu, currently fifth on the PGTI Order of Merit, dropped a bogey on the third but came roaring back with his longest birdie conversion of the day, a 30-footer, on the seventh.
“I enjoyed a great day with the putter. I kept finding the hole from long range. Starting the day with a 25-feet birdie conversion on the 10th was a huge morale-booster. I also managed to get myself out of trouble from the rough on a few occasions. I’ve been playing consistent golf this season and am happy to carry forward the momentum this week.
“The newly renovated DGC throws up its own set of challenges as the greens and the areas around it are quite different compared to what they were three years back when I played my last event here. The approach to the greens now has to be different,” said Gandas.
Rashid, who has posted top-20s in the last three events, began the day at his home course DGC with a bogey after finding the bushes on the 10th. Khan made up for the early setback with birdies on the 12th and 18th.
He then made a move with four straight birdies from the third through the sixth courtesy of his terrific putting as he drained putts from a range of 10 to 20 feet.
Rashid said, “I’ve shot some good numbers over the past few events but have not finished well. But today’s round is better than my good scores from the last few events because today I played on a new layout at the DGC, something that I’ve not been used to.
“I had a slow start but the long birdie conversion on the third really got me going and set up the birdie run on the front-nine.”
Chikkarangappa, currently second in the PGTI Order of Merit, made seven birdies and two bogeys during his 67 which featured a 40-feet birdie putt on the 12th.
Baisoya, playing in familiar conditions at the DGC, struck two eagles, five birdies and four bogeys in his round of 67. Baisoya’s eagles came on the 14th and 18th where he sank putts from 10 feet and eight feet respectively. He also missed a hole-in-one by a whisker on the 12th where his tee shot shaved the lip of the hole.