Lahiri lies sixth, Bhullar lags behind

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

SERI SELANGOR - Anirban Lahiri took over from where his team mate Gaganjeet Bhullar let off last week, as he fired an eventful four-under 67 to be tied sixth in the first round of the Worldwide Holdings Selangor Masters golf on the Asian Tour.

In-form Bhullar was the surprise of the day Wednesday with a lacklustre 74 that placed him 80th and in danger of missing the cut. Lahiri, his team mate at the 2006 Asian Games when they won a silver medal before turning professional, had a good score to come back with despite an up-and-down day with an eagle, six birdies and four bogeys during the round.

The next best Indian was Rahil Gangjee, who had two eagles, two birdies and three bogeys in his three-under 68 for tied 10th.

Malaysia’s Danny Chia lived up to the adage ‘beware the sick golfer’ when he seized the first round lead. The 37-year-old carried the local challenge with a superb seven-under-par 64 to take a one-stroke lead over Asian Tour rookie and a former world junior amateur champion Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand at Seri Selangor Golf Club in the US$300,000 event.

Last week’s winner, Australian Darren Beck, South African James Kamte and Malaysian Iain Steel were tied third at five-under 66 and Lahiri with three others was at 67.

Lahiri was three-under after six holes following a tenth tee start. He ended the front nine at two-under following bogeys on 16th and 18th and four other birdies on the stretch. On the front half, he bogeyed first and second to be even par and lose all early advantage. Then he birdied the fifth, eagled the sixth and birdied the ninth to finish four-under.

Digvijay Singh shot a 69 to lie 15th, while seasoned Gaurav Ghei and C Muniyappa shot 71 each to be 34th.

Bhullar after three birdies in a row from fourth to sixth lapsed into errors and ended with at three-over 74 that put him tied 80th and in danger of missing the cut, which seems likely at two or three-over. Chiragh Kumar (76) was 109th and Manav Jaini (77) was 121st. Himmat Rai was one-over after 15 holes and among those who were unable to complete their first round and will return in the morning.

“I’m happy to be hitting the ball well, thinking well and reacting to the golf shots well and that’s what I will be aiming for this week. We played quite a few holes in rain. Played two holes in blinding rain and I made two bogeys on those holes but I’m happy that I could recover,” said Gangjee.

“I hit it well especially my eagles on the par-5s 13th and sixth so that really helped. I’ve been out here long enough to know that there is a long way to go so I’m not feeling or thinking anything much,” he said.

Despite being ill with the flu this week, Chia rose from his sick bed to charge into the lead, thanks to an eagle and six birdies against a lone bogey. He eagled the par five 13th hole after his five-iron landed 15 feet of the pin.

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