Emiliano Grillo equals course record at Hero Indian Open

Among the Indians, S.S.P. Chawrasia and in-form Shubhankar Sharma recovered from poor first-nine, Ajeetesh Sandhu proved to be the best.

Emiliano Grillo (above) produced a stunning seven-under 65 to match the course record set by Malaysian Gavin Green in 2017.   -  Special Arrangement

The unforgiving course at the DLF Golf and Country Club made even par score look like a great effort. Only those sticking to accuracy were rewarded. The rest were left to solve the riddle after a testing opening day of the $1.75 million Hero Indian Open here on Thursday.

In the wake of these challenges, when only 32 players carded sub-par scores, two-stroke leader Argentine Emiliano Grillo produced a stunning seven-under 65 to match the course record set by Malaysian Gavin Green in 2017.

Following the stupendous display, Grillo could not have put it any better. “You have no idea how difficult the course is. I had to play almost perfect golf. I think anywhere else, it would have been close to a 59 or something!”

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After Grillo’s opening-hole birdie was offset by an immediate bogey, the rest of the round saw him sink seven more birdies during a flawless streak.

Among the Indians, after defending champion S.S.P. Chawrasia (74) and in-form Shubhankar Sharma (73) recovered from poor first-nine, Ajeetesh Sandhu proved to be the best. He shot a 68 to share the seventh spot before bad light stopped play with 24 players yet to finish. The severity of the course and the high number of rulings played its part in the round, which remains unfinished.

Playing steadily, Sandhu found par on the first five and the last three holes, but in the interim, produced an eventful streak. Birdies on the sixth and eighth holes helped him take the turn at two-under. On the back-nine, he drained birdies on the 11th and 13th holes, bogeyed the 14th and quickly picked up a stroke on the 15th.

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“I could say today’s round was almost a dream round. My hitting was just amazing. I hit all fairways and made regulation on 17 out of 18 greens. We were a little lucky that the wind wasn’t up today otherwise this course can pose many more challenges,” said an excited Sandhu.

Shubhankar, who started from the 10th hole, had three bogeys and a double-bogey from the first nine. After the turn, he started with a birdie and never put a foot wrong. Three more birdies, on his way back, made him feel a lot better. “After being five-over, I’ll take the 73 any day,” said Shubhankar and added, “there’s a lot to learn from today’s round.”

The scores (only completed rounds):

65 – Emiliano Grillo (Arg); 67 – Paul Peterson (USA), Pablo Larazabal (Esp), Matteo Manassero (Ita); 68 – Ajeetesh Sandhu, Marc Warren (Sco).

Other leading Indians: 71 – Arjun Atwal, 72 – Khalin Joshi, Honey Baisoya, Anirban Lahiri, Jyoti Randhawa, 73 – Shubhankar Sharma, Yashas Chandra (A); 74 – Ashok Kumar, S. S. P. Chowrasia, Dhruv Sheoran (A); 75 – Harendra Gupta; 76 – Manu Gandas, Chiragh Kumar, Shiv Kapur, Gaganjeet Bhullar; 77 – Rashid Khan, Kartik Sharma (A), S. Chikkarangappa.