Fine start by Chawrasia, shoots four-under 68 in Abu Dhabi

India's S. S. P. Chawrasia, who had two fine wins in 2016, opened his campaign this year with an excellent four-under 68 that placed him inside the top 10 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championships golf tournament, here on Thursday.

S. S. P. Chawrasia

S. S. P. Chawrasia overcame a late bogey on the eighth hole, which was his 17th to come home with his best start in five appearances at Abu Dhabi.   -  Getty Images

India's S. S. P. Chawrasia, who had two fine wins in 2016, opened his campaign this year with an excellent four-under 68 that placed him inside the top 10 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championships golf tournament, here on Thursday.

The lone Indian in the field, Chawrasia, a three-time winner on European Tour and winner of five titles overall in Asian Tour, overcame a late bogey on the eighth hole, which was his 17th to come home with his best start in five appearances at Abu Dhabi.

This is his first appearance in Abu Dhabi since 2013, when he was tied 17th. Chawrasia, who defends his Hero Indian Open title in March, was tied 10th though there were many players still on the course.

The leader was the 2016 British Open winner and Olympic silver medallist, Henrik Stenson, who carded a brilliant eight-under 64 to take sole lead and begin the defence of his Race to Dubai title to a great start.

"I like this golf course and quite enjoy it. I remember I shot a 65 here in 2013 and I was looking forward to playing here again. Hopefully I can carry on the good work from today," said Chawrasia, who also represented India at the Olympic Games.

"That late bogey was a bit of a disappointment, but still I will take the 68."

Chawrasia got off to a great start from the 10th. He parred the 10th and then ran three birdies in a row before making six successive pars.

A birdie on second got him to four-under and yet another on seventh meant he was five-under. A bogey on par-5 eighth was a spoke in the wheels and he finished at 68.

The 40-year-old Stenson made eight birdies in a bogey-free effort to open up a two-shot lead over three-time winner Martin Kaymer, Thai Kiradech Aphibarnrat, England's Oliver Fisher and Scot Marc Warren.

Stenson holds the course record in Abu Dhabi after shooting a 62 in 2006.

England's Tyrrell Hatton was then at five-under after a bogey-free 67, a shot clear of countrymen Jordan L Smith and Callum Shinkwin, Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjørn, Welshman Bradley Dredge, Ireland's Paul Dunne, South African Branden Grace, France's Grégory Havret and Australian Jason Scrivener.