Aman Raj in lead, Shubhankar makes quiet start in PGTI Players Championship

Aman Raj shot a seven-under-65 to move into the lead on the opening day of the TATA Steel PGTI Players Championship.

Patna's Aman Raj in action on the opening day of the TATA Steel PGTI Players Championship in Bengaluru.   -  Special Arrangement

Aman Raj shot a seven-under-65 to move into the lead on the opening day of the TATA Steel PGTI Players Championship here. The Patna golfer scored eight birdies with a lone bogey at the Eagleton Golf Resort on Tuesday to finish two shots ahead of S. Chikkarangappa and Veer Ahlawat, who were in tied second.

Shubhankar Sharma made a quiet start with a one-over-73 to be placed tied 54th.

Aman, who was joint runner-up at last week’s PGTI event in Hyderabad, enjoyed a good day with the putter, sinking several birdies from a range of eight to 10 feet. "It was a good putting day for me and I feel I’m carrying forward the momentum from last week," the 24-year-old said later. "I had a good putting stretch on the 15th, 16th and 17th but was a little disappointed to miss a chance on the 18th."

While Chikkarangappa produced a flawless five-under-67, Ahlawat -- who returned an identical score -- shot an eagle, four birdies and a bogey in his round. There was then a logjam of eight golfers in fourth place, all tied on four-under-68. That bunch included Pune’s Udayan Mane, who won the last two PGTI events. Bengaluru’s Khalin Joshi was a further stroke behind in tied 12th.

Top scores (round one): 65: Aman Raj; 67: Veer Ahlawat, S. Chikkarangappa; 68: Mari Muthu, Himmat Rai, Honey Baisoya, Udayan Mane, Jaiveer Atwal, Mohammad Sanju, Om Prakash Chouhan, Akshay Sharma.

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