Abu Dhabi Golf: Gaganjeet Bhullar makes even par start

Bhullar finished the day with a card of 72, but Sharma, resuming action from his 13th hole which was fourth on the front nine, gave away double bogeys on seventh and ninth and ended with a disappointing four-over 76 in the first round.

India's Gaganjeet Bhullar got off to an even par start in Abu Dhabi on Friday.   -  Getty Images

India's Gaganjeet Bhullar got off to an even par start, but compatriot Shubhankar Sharma on Friday faltered over the last six remaining holes of his weather-hit first round at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship here.

Bhullar finished the day with a card of 72, but Sharma, resuming action from his 13th hole which was fourth on the front nine, gave away double bogeys on seventh and ninth and ended with a disappointing four-over 76 in the first round.

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Sharma had started the round with two birdies on 10 and 11 but bogeys on 16th, first and third, with a birdie in between on second, saw him finish at even par when play was suspended early on Thursday due to bad weather. Sharma, in his 12 holes, had three birdies and as many bogeys.

On the other hand, Bhullar, coming out for his first start since the win on the Indian PGTI Tour in December, began with eight pars and a bogey on the front nine to finish the day with an even par 72 that included two birdies and equal number of bogeys.

Bhullar took a lot of positives from the start here.

"Not the best start which I wanted, but coming here I was a bit stressed out because of my driving stats, because I did not drive the ball well last year. But I drove the ball really well (here). Before that there were a lot of technical things which I was trying to trying to get used to," he said.

"I think it's just a beginning of the season. I'm really excited to play the whole season on the European tour this year."

Tyrrell Hatton moved five shots ahead of Rory McIlroy on Friday in the second round.

The Englishman eagled the second hole and later added four consecutive birdies before play was halted because of fading light after his tee shot on the 14th. He was at 12 under overall when play was stopped.

McIlroy, at 7 under through 14 holes, birdied the first and third holes but double-bogeyed the par-4 fifth to go with three other bogeys.

Lahiri show at American Express

Anirban Lahiri got off to a fine start with a four-under 68 and was lying tied 15th after the first round of the American Express golf tournament.

The Indian opened with a bogey, but steadied himself to pick five birdies and finish with a solid round on a course that is more difficult of the two on which the PGA Tour tournament is being played.

Brandon Hagy, a late replacement for Jon Rahm in the field, carded a 64 highlighted by 10 birdies to take the lead. Korea's Byeong Hyun An got his new year off to a near perfect start by firing a seven-under 65 in the first round with seven birdies on the Nicklaus Tournament Course.