Gurugram, March 28: Shubhankar Sharma and Rahil Gangjee were the two bright spots for India on day one of the 2019 Hero Indian Open at the DLF Golf & Country Club.
While Shubhankar, the reigning Asian Tour Order of Merit champion, came up with a solid three-under-69 to occupy tied seventh place, two off the lead, Gangjee fired a steady two-under-70 to be tied 16th at the US$ 1.75 million event.
The lead was jointly held by Scotland's Stephen Gallacher and American Julian Suri at five-under-67.
Shubhankar, a 10th tee starter, made an early gain with a long birdie conversion on the 12th. The 22-year-old, who was in good putting form through the day, then made two consecutive birdies on the 18th and first, the latter being another long conversion from 15 feet, to take his score to three-under.
Two-time European Tour winner Sharma's excellent approach shot on the par-5 fourth landed six feet from the pin thus setting up an eagle for him.
The Chandigarh-based golfer was in the joint lead at five-under through 14 holes before he hit a rough patch on the sixth and seventh. He found the bunker on the sixth and seventh and thus dropped successive bogeys there to close the day with a three-under.
Shubhankar said, "I think I played very well today and didn't make too many mistakes. I missed a couple of key putts on the front nine. Made a silly mistake on six and seven but apart from those holes I am pretty happy with how I finished.
"I hit it decent but not quite how I wanted to execute it. I ended up with a decent lie so fortunately I was lucky with where it ended up and hit it close enough to make an eagle.
"The greens are a lot softer compared to last year. Three under par is a good score to start out the tournament especially on this golf course, you need to have a good start to keep the momentum going the next few days, so I am pretty happy with how I did."
Rahil Gangjee mixed three birdies with a bogey during his round of 70.
The other Indians who got off to a decent start were Om Prakash Chouhan (71) in tied 28th place as well as Gaganjeet Bhullar (72) and Rashid Khan (72) who were both in tied 46th place.
Among the prominent Indian names, Shiv Kapur (74) and two-time Indian Open champion SSP Chawrasia (74) were both tied 76th while another former winner Anirban Lahiri (77) was tied 107th.
Source: PGTI Release