Rashid lies tied second, Chiragh fifth at Mauritius Open

Indian golfer Rashid Khan, making his first appearance since mid-March, carded a superb four-under 68 to be placed tied second, two shots off the leader Andrew Dodt, after the first round of AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open here today.

A two-time winner on Asian Tour, Rashid Khan, who was tied sixth at Hero Indian Open in his last appearance on either the Asian or European Tours, had four birdies against three bogeys on a rather wind-swept day at the Four Seasons golf club.   -  Getty Images

Indian golfer Rashid Khan, making his first appearance since mid-March, carded a superb four-under 68 to be placed tied second, two shots off the leader Andrew Dodt, after the first round of AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open here today.

A two-time winner on Asian Tour, Rashid, who was tied sixth at Hero Indian Open in his last appearance on either the Asian or European Tours, had four birdies against three bogeys on a rather wind-swept day at the Four Seasons golf club.

The sole leader was Andrew Dodt, who mastered the windy conditions, to take the lead with a six-under 66 on a day when only 21 players came under par.

Dodt, winner of the True Thailand Classic Presented in March, lead by two over Rashid and Bangladesh’s Siddikur Rahman.

Chiragh Kumar, sharing a room with Shiv Kapur at Long Beach, which is 30 minutes away from Anahita, was tied sixth with a steady two-under 70 that included two birdies on his last four holes, the sixth and the ninth, after he started on the 10th.

Jyoti Randhawa who was two-under through first seven holes was still the same after 17 holes, before he hit disaster with a triple bogey on par-5 18th and finished at one-over.

Jeev Milkha Singh, who is staying at the venue and has brought his family to the resort, rallied from a quadruple bogey to shoot 73, as did Rahil Gangjee, Himmat Rai and Randhawa and all were tied 36th.

Gaganjeet Bhullar (74) was 55th, Kapur (75) was Tied 71st, Daniel Chopra (76) was 83rd, Shubhankar (78), who arrived last night was 101st and Khalin Joshi had a disastrous 86.

Rashid had birdies on first, third, eighth, 10th and 11th and again on 13th and 15th. His bogeys came on sixth, 12th and 18th holes.

Rashid was quite happy despite the closing bogey.

“I am very delighted with how I played. It was really windy when I played my practice rounds earlier this week and I wasn’t expecting to shoot a good round when I started out today. I started with two birdies in my opening three holes and that gave me some confidence heading into the round,” he said.

“Apart from the wind, the course is kind tricky as well. You need to hit it really straight on some holes. It’s difficult when you have to control your ball under the windy conditions. I was really lucky on the 18. I hit a straight shot and the ball landed just before the OB zone,” Rashid said.

“I found the greens and holed some putts today. I holed my longest putt on the eight for birdie. It was a 50-footer downhill left to right. I played this tournament last year but missed the cut by one shot,” added Rashid.

Jeev had a mountain to climb after putting two balls in the water on the very first hole. He had an eight, a quadruple bogey and then added another bogey on fourth to go five-over after just five holes.

“I was quite taken aback as I have been playing well, and here I was in danger of messing it all up in the first few holes. I played the last 12 holes in four-under and finished at one-over,” said Jeev.

“I have a morning round, maybe the wind will be kinder.”

Leader Dodt said, “If someone said six under at the start of the day, I would have put my hand up yesterday and taken it. It’s not easy out there. If you’re off by just a little bit, everything gets magnified by the wind. I probably won’t shoot 66 tomorrow but I’ve just got to try to minimise the mistakes.”

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