Indian Open: Horsey leads, Lahiri goes four-over

Among the Indians, who will return on Friday to finish their opening round, defending champion S. S. P. Chowrasia pared the first 11 holes and later moved to one-under after 14 holes. Chiragh Kumar was at one-under with eight holes to play.

David Horsey leads the field after the first day of the $1.75 million Hero Indian Open golf championship at the DLF Golf and Country Club at Gurugram on Thursday.

Going by the numbers, the course stayed ahead of those trying to conquer it as the opening day of the $1.75 million Hero Indian Open proved a testing one.

After lightning, followed by brief showers, curtailed play for 90 minutes on Thursday afternoon, 66 players could not finish their first round. This included England’s David Horsey whose score of five-under par after 14 holes earned him a one-stroke lead.

Among the 78 players who finished their round before bad light forced closure, Italian Matteo Manassero produced the best card, that of four-under 68. Spain’s Carlos Pigem matched Manassero’s tally though he could finish only 14 holes on this day.

Among the Indians, who will return on Friday to finish their opening round, defending champion S. S. P. Chowrasia pared the first 11 holes and later moved to one-under after 14 holes. Chiragh Kumar was at one-under with eight holes to play.

“It’s a good start as one expects it to be a high-scoring week,” said Chowrasia and continued, “I didn’t drop any shots on the front-nine but missed at least four birdie-opportunities from close range. The missed birdie, from three feet on the eighth, was a disappointing one. I feel that is the toughest par-5 hole and a birdie there would’ve really lifted my confidence.”

Rahil Gangjee and young Shubhankar Sharma carded par rounds and left the course with a sense of achievement especially after looking at Anirban Lahiri’s poor 76. The 2015 champion double-bogeyed the 18th after three successive birdies and after the turn, bogeyed thrice in succession and triple-bogeyed the seventh before signing off with back-to-back birdies.

“I’m quite disappointed actually. I’ve gotten myself a long way out of position now, but it’s now up to me to see what I can make of it” said Lahiri.

“I was playing well at the start but a couple of times just waiting, on hitting my shot, threw me off my rhythm. One instance was on the 18th when I stood on the tee for a long time and couldn’t make up my mind whether to draw or cut the ball. I ended up making a bad swing there. That led to a double-bogey.

“After the 18th, I just couldn’t find my rhythm. I couldn’t hit the right kind of shape I was looking for. I missed a bunch of greens as well. I was in a great position off the tee on the fo,rth, but miscalculated the wind there. Another loose swing on the seventh led to a triple bogey,” he explained.

Lahiri, in turn, could gain consolation from the fact that Jeev Milkha Singh could only manage a forgettable 13-over 85, which turn was a shade better as compared to two-time champion Thaworn Wiratchant’s card of 17 over 89!

In contrast, amateur Rigel Fernandes bounced back strongly from a double-bogey start to finish nicely on par following three birdies on the last four holes.

“The course from tee to green is pretty nice. The putting surfaces are a little extreme so you just have to be in the right parts. I have not played anything like this ever,” said Fernandes, whose father walked with him all day.

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