Sujjan Singh in joint lead at Bengaluru Open

With a score of six-under-66, Sujjan occupies the top spot with S. Chikkarangappa, Shamim Khan, Himmat Rai and Sri Lankan Anura Rohana.

Himmat Singh tees off at the Bengaluru Open on Wednesday.   -  Sudhakara Jain

Sujjan Singh and four others share the lead after the first round of the Bengaluru Open Golf Championship, at KGA here on Wednesday. Sujjan (six-under 66) occupies the top spot with S. Chikkarangappa, Shamim Khan, Himmat Rai and Sri Lankan Anura Rohana.

Sujjan was especially pleased with his bogey-free card, given that his driver club was damaged during his flight journey from Manila to Bengaluru. “I managed to get a replacement driver, but I only used it a few times today. I just wasn’t comfortable with it,” the Chandigarh pro said.

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If Sujjan was unhappy with his equipment, the opposite held true for Chikkarangappa.

‘Superb’ putting

The Bengaluru golfer has been using a new putter for the last 18 months, to mixed results. A missed cut at the recent Manila Masters prompted Chikkarangappa to go back to his tried and tested old putter. The rekindled relationship is off to a smooth start. “The new putter gave me negative vibes. That is why I switched back to my favourite old putter – the one I used to win all my amateur and professional titles. My putting was superb today," Chikkarangappa said.

Himmat was a tad erratic, in an exciting round made up of nine birdies and three bogeys. A bogey on the 18th and final hole robbed him of the chance to take the sole lead. “I wanted to be aggressive and get another birdie, but I should have settled for a safe lay-up,” Himmat said.

Diet inconvenience

Shamim, the PGTI Order of Merit leader, continued his good form. The Delhi pro, who has won two PGTI titles this season, is not keen to make the jump to the Asian Tour. “I’m a vegetarian. Getting vegetarian food in foreign countries is tough, so I prefer not to play on the Asian Tour,” Shamim explained.

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Rohana - he has missed the cut in three of the previous five events – enjoyed a good day at the office. On the par-5 fifth hole, Rohana reached the green with two shots, then sank a 15-feet putt to record an eagle.

Local lad Khalin Joshi (three-under 69) lies tied-14th.

The scores (top nine): 66: S. Chikkarangappa, Shamim Khan, Himmat Rai, Anura Rohana, Sujjan Singh; 67: Veer Ahlawat, Honey Baisoya, M. Dharma; 68: Mukesh Kumar, Chiragh Kumar, N. Thyagaraja, Abhijit Chadha, Harendra Gupta.