India’s S. Chikkarangappa had a brilliant opening day as he hit 64 to share the joint lead with Victor Perez in the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open on Thursday.

Chikka birdied two of his final three holes to finish the day on eight under along with Perez, while Jaco Van Zyl hit 65 to stay one shot off the leaders.

Perez had a hat trick of birdies during the back nine as he shot 32 to end on a high. He had birdies on the 13th, 16th and 18th hole.

Van Zyl had Masahiro Kawamura and Kurt Kityama for company with rounds of 65 while Englishman Lee Slattery was two strokes behind him at 67.

Defending champion Daniel Fritteli started off with a 69 along with Ernie Els for company.

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The 25-year-old Chikkarangappa was brilliant from tee to green throughout the day, which led to a bogey-free round at the Four Seasons Golf Club.

Chikkarangappa’s confidence is sky-high after making adjustments to his swing. The Indian golfer, who was victorious at an event on his local circuit recently, is determined to end his season on a high by winning the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open, or one of the remaining tournaments on the Asian Tour schedule.

Kurt Kitayama of the United States, Masahiro Kawamura of Japan and Jaco Van Zyl of South Africa were one shot behind the leaders in tied-third.

Sweden’s Malcolm Kokocinski, who won on the Asian Tour for the first time this season, is also right in the mix after carding a 67 to finish the day in tied-sixth.

Justin Harding of South Africa continued his resplendent form this season and signed for a 67.

Harding, third on the Asian Tour Habitat for Humanity Standings, got away with a bogey on the 16th after a wayward drive. He left the golf course with a broad smile on his face after chipping in for eagle on the 18th.