Khalin Joshi takes lead at Jaipur Open with round of 61

Khalin Joshi sunk in an eagle and nine birdies to fire a scorching nine-under 61 for the first round lead at the Jaipur Open, on Tuesday.

File picture of Khalin Joshi.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Khalin Joshi sunk in an eagle and nine birdies to fire a scorching nine-under 61 for the first round lead at the Jaipur Open, here on Tuesday.

The Bengaluru golfer had two bogeys.

Rookie Kartik Sharma of Gurugram and M Dharma, another Bengaluru-based pro, struck error-free rounds of eight-under 62 consisting of an eagle and six birdies each to hold joint second position.

Joshi sank some tough par putts at the start which enabled him to judge the speed of the greens. He got going with consecutive birdies on the 12th, 13th and 14th before recovering from the bunker for a birdie on the 17th followed by another birdie on the par-5 18th.

After making the turn at an impressive four-under, Joshi pushed ahead with a birdie from close range on the second.

READ: Khalin Joshi takes two-stroke lead

His bogey on the third was negated by birdies on the fifth, sixth and seventh, all converted from a range of eight to 15 feet.

The icing on the cake in his extraordinary round was the eagle on the par-5 eighth hole where he drained a 10-footer. "I'm extremely satisfied with today's effort. I feel I'm carrying forward the confidence from last week's good finish," Joshi said.

"I also had a great practice round on Monday which got me in a good frame of mind. My game seems to be heading in the right direction as I feel my swing is in control and I’m rolling the putts well." Kartik Sharma, fresh from top-10s in the last three events, made some long conversions including a 40-footer for birdie on the ninth and a 15-feet eagle putt on the closing 18th.

Kartik, who last played at the RGC as a junior golfer about four years back, also chipped-in for birdie on the 15th.

M Dharma made a chip-in for eagle on the 14th. He came extremely close to adding two more eagles to his card on the 17th and eighth where he missed the hole by inches.

The Chandigarh duo of Harendra Gupta and Abhijit Singh Chadha were in tied fourth place with scores of 63.

Kolkata’s Viraj Madappa, last week’s winner, occupied tied sixth place at 64 along with Gurugram golfers Veer Ahlawat and Dhruv Sheoran.

PGTI Order of Merit leader Karandeep Kochhar of Chandigarh was in tied ninth place after a round of 65. Olympian Udayan Mane returned a 66 to be tied 17th.

Jaipur's Hemendra Choudhary also carded a 66 to be the highest-placed local golfer in tied 17th.

Among the other Jaipur-based professionals, Vishal Singh posted a 70 to be tied 65th while Girraj Singh Khadka’s 71 placed him tied 76th.

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