Panasonic Open: Itthipat holds lead, five Indians open with 67

Itthipat Buranatanyarat maintained his overnight lead on Friday as the Panasonic Open was curtailed to 54 holes and 'the Cut' will be applied on Saturday.

Kshitij Naveed Kaul who shot a bogey-free 67 to be joint fifth after the first round of $400,000 Panasonic Open at the Classic Golf and Country Club in Gurugram on Friday.   -  Special Arrangement

The smog refused the give way to a brighter day. As a result, the scores on the second day of the Panasonic Open India followed an expected pattern.

The weather-hit event finally saw the completion of the first round, with no change on top of the leaderboard on Friday. Itthipat Buranatanyarat’s overnight two-stroke lead, at eight-under 64, remained unchallenged while Australia’s Terry Pilkadaris and Myanmar’s Ye Htet Aung joined Indonesia’s Danny Masrin in the second place, at 66.

Among the Indians, Karandeep Kochhar, Kshitij Naveed Kaul, Vikrant Chopra, defending champion Khalin Joshi and Rashid Khan joined Shiv Kapur, Arjun Prasad, M. Dharma and Shankar Das at five-under 67 at the tied fifth spot. In fact, nine out of 11 professionals at five-under are Indians.

READ| Smog in Gurugram delays start of Panasonic Open, Itthipat on top after day 1

Kaul, 18, playing his rookie season as a pro, fired a bogey-free round. Rashid, Chopra and Kochhar sank six birdies against a lone bogey while Joshi did it by finding seven birdies to offset two bogeys.

Kaul, fourth on this season’s PGTI Order of Merit, was pleased with his hitting and putting, in spite of misreading a few putts. Interestingly, he made by pro debut in this event last year and finished sixth.

Rashid summed it up well. “I played solid and missed just one green today. I was four-under through nine holes and had a good chance of going low. But on the Hole No. 2, I misjudged the wind and landed my tee-shot in the bunker.”

As anticipated, the $400,000 event stood reduced to a 54-hole event, with those making the ‘cut’ after Saturday’s second round, getting to play just one round to decide the winner.

The Asian Tour confirmed this change and stated that the second round, to be played in two sessions on Saturday, will see a four-tee start - from the first, sixth, 10th and 15th holes.

First-round scores:

64 - Itthipat Buranatanyarat (Tha);

66- Danny Masrin (Ina), Terry Pilkadaris (Aus), Ye Htet Aung (Mya);

67 - Karandeep Kochar, Arjun Prasad, Shiv Kapur, M. Dharma, Hung Chien-Yao (Tpe), Shankar Das, Vikrant Chopra, Khalin Joshi and Rashid Khan;

Other leading Indians:

68 - Sanjay Kumar, Aman Raj;

69 - Veer Ahlawat, Kapil Kumar, Viraj Madappa, Aadil Bedi, Arjun Atwal, Pravin Pathare;

70 - Sudhir Sharma, Shamim Khan, Om Prakash Chouhan, Honey Baisoya, Gaurav Pratap Singh and Jeev Milkha Singh.