Sandhu, Shubhankar and Bhullar shine at Gran Canaria Lopesan Open

India’s Shubhankar Sharma and Gaganjeet Bhullar carded a one-under 69 each to lie tied-88th; Ajeetesh Sandhu fired a four-under 66.

Indian golfer Shubhankar Sharma.   -  AP (FILE)

India’s Shubhankar Sharma and Gaganjeet Bhullar completed their opening rounds, carding a matching one-under 69 to lie T-88 at the Gran Canaria Lopesan Open here.

While Ajeetesh Sandhu, who had fired a sizzling four-under 66, and S. S. P. Chawrasia (74), had completed their rounds at Meloneras Golf Club, Sharma and Bhullar were at three-under through 11 holes and even par through 12 on Thursday. Netherlands’ Joost Luiten and Joachim B. Hansen set the early target of 7-under 63 and despite the wind later on Max Kieffer, who lost a five-hole play-off last week, and Robin Roussel joined them at the top with 63s.

Making the leaderboard even more crowded were seven others at 5-under.

Shubhankar was three-under in the front nine and then eight straight pars brought him to the closing hole, the ninth, at three-under. But a crippling double bogey on Par-4 ninth set him back to one-under.

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Bhullar, on the other hand, had three birdies against two bogeys, while Chawrasia struggled through with two birdies against six bogeys.

Luiten, a multiple winner on European, but who has not tasted success since winning Oman Open in 2018, started with seven-under 65 which included an ace on 15th.

Hansen, who had his breakthrough win at Jo’burg Open in November 2020, shot a superb seven-under 65 that had four birdies on back nine, where he started and an eagle-birdie on fourth and fifth. Roussel had eight birdies against one bogey, while Kieffer had nine birdies and a double on Par-4 eighth hole.

Last week’s winner, John Catlin shot three-under 67 and was T-42.