China Open: Solid three-under start for Chawrasia

However, the day belonged to South African Hennie Otto, who carded a stunning nine-under opening round of 63 to storm into the lead, with Austrian Bernd Wiesberger two shots back at Topwin Golf and Country Club.

Shiv Chawrasia was lying tied 22nd.   -  Getty Images

Indian golfer S.S.P. Chawrasia opened with a strong three-under 69, while former champion Jeev Milkha Singh turned in a roller-coaster two-under 70 on the opening day of the Volvo China Open here today.

Chawrasia, winner of the Hero Indian Open this season, was lying tied 22nd and Jeev, winner of the event in 2006, was tied 39th.

However, the day belonged to South African Hennie Otto, who carded a stunning nine-under opening round of 63 to storm into the lead, with Austrian Bernd Wiesberger two shots back at Topwin Golf and Country Club.

It was also an exciting opening day for Rikard Karlberg, who lives just 30 minutes from Volvo’s main factory in Sweden, as he holed out with a seven iron at the 16th hole to win a new XC90 car from the tournament’s title sponsor en route to a three under par 69.

Chawrasia had a great start and was two-under through six holes. Had birdies on first and sixth but dropped a shot on seventh.

He picked a third birdie on 11th and then back-to-back gains on 15th and 16th saw him rise to four-under. A late bogey on 17th was a setback and he ended at 69.

Jeev was two-under through five and three-under through 11. But a bogey on 13th and double on 14th saw him drop to even par. He fought back with birdies on 15th and 17th to finish at 70.

South Africa Otto took the headlines though, taking advantage of the benign early conditions in the first group out from the tenth tee with seven birdies and an eagle ensuring he was in the driving seat heading into the second round in Beijing.

Wiesberger carded a late seven under par 65 to lead the chasing pack, while Frenchman Gregory Bourdy, Peter Hanson of Sweden, Finland’s Roope Kakko and Fabrizio Zanotti — all European Tour winners — were a shot further back on six under par.

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