DGC Open: Shankar, Smyth in the lead

Shankar Das and Travis Smyth card five-under 67 each to take the lead; only 21 players post sub-par scores on a windy day at the Delhi Golf Club.

Shankar Das was the joint leader on day one of the DGC Open. - SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Windy conditions on a tight course often leads to high scores. Thursday proved no different as Shankar Das and Australia’s Travis Smyth carded five-under 67 to take the lead leaving many seasoned campaigners much to catch up with after the opening round of the USD 500,000 DGC Open at the Delhi Golf Club course.

Out of the 21 players who broke par, only eight players managed scores of two-under or better. Given the tight nature of the course, with the tree-lined fairways proving unforgiving, many paid heavily for their ill-directed tee-shots.

The windy conditions continued through the afternoon. On the par-5s, even a slightly wayward approach shot proved costly.

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Such being the scenario, Shankar and Smyth did extremely well. Shankar, 39, found four birdies on the front nine and another two on the way in, to offset the bogey on the 10th hole. More importantly, out of the six holes where he missed greens-in-regulation, he saved par on five.

Kolkata-based Shankar, winner of the 2014 Order of Merit on the domestic PGTI Tour, trusted his 3-wood off the tee. “Chipping was not good today but putting was really good,” he said.

‘Not easy’

Unlike Shankar, pony-tailed Smyth missed only one green-in-regulation in each half. He decided to leave the driver out of his bag and used the 3-iron and 2-iron off the tee to good effect.

Smyth started from the 10th tee and broke his sequence of pars with an ‘eagle’ on the 14th. “The ‘eagle’ was definitely a momentum-changer. I hit a 2-iron off the tee thinking it would take three shots to get to the green but I got a good roll. Followed that with a 3-iron that reached the top shelf of the green to give me a 15-foot putt. It really got the round going through it still wasn’t easy out there. The wind was definitely a factor, especially in the second nine. Pretty calm in the morning but it started to swirl around quite a bit later.”

Shiv Kapur (71), who shared the lead with Das and Smyth at four-under at one stage, fell back after dropping three strokes over the last four holes.

The scores (first round, Indian unless stated)
  • 67 - Travis Smyth (Aus), Shankar Das;
  • 68 - Veer Ahlawat, Nitithorn Thippong (Tha);
  • 69 - Ajeetesh Sandhu, Karandeep Kochhar;
  • 70 - Varun Parikh, Zach Bauchou (USA);
  • 71 - Mohammad Zamal Hossain Mollah (Ban), Aman Raj, Settee Prakongvech (Tha), Shiv Kapur, Shamim Khan, Ian Snyman (RSA), Kevin Yuan (Aus), Sachin Baisoya, Kasidit Lepkurte (Tha), Manu Gandas, Bjorn Hellgren (Swe), Blake Collyer (Aus) and M. Dharma.

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