Indian golfer Shubhankar Sharma finished with back-to-back birdies to salvage a round that seemed to be getting out of hand after the first 10 holes in the first round of the Turkish Airlines Open in Antalya on Thursday.
Sharma, playing the Maxx Montgomerie course for the first time, mixed five birdies with two bogeys and a double bogey for a one-under 71.
Sharma was Tied-37th alongside Race to Dubai leader Bernd Wiesberger and former Masters champion Patrick Reed.
Englishman Tom Lewis and Austrian Matthias Schwab carded a superb seven-under 65 each to share the lead with American David Lipsky, Belgian Thomas Pieters and Swede Alex Noren at six-under 66 each.
Justin Rose, the double defending champion, two-under for the front nine and hit two bogeys on either side of an eagle on par-5 11th to be two-under at that stage. He finished in style with a trio of birdies to reach five-under 67 and was Tied-sixth alongside 2016 Masters winner Danny Willett.
Shane Lowry carded 72 despite missing three putts inside three feet, something he said he has not done the entire year during which he won the Open Championship.
Sharma needs to get to about 70-72 to play next week in the second of three-leg Final Series. Next week’s event is the Nedbank Challenge tot be followed by the DP World Tour Championships for which only Top-50 on Race to Dubai points will qualify. At the start of his week, Sharma was 81st.
Aadil Bedi tied third after first round in Thai Open
Rookie Aadil Bedi fired a bogey-free five-under 66 to lie two shots behind the leader, Thai amateur Natthaphat Harnchokchaiskul (64), at the end of the first day of USD 300,000 Thailand Open Chachoengsao, Thailand on Thursday.
Bedi, whose best Asian Tour finish has been fourth at the recent Classic Golf and Country Club International in September, birdied each of the three Par-5s at the Thai Country Club. He had five birdies, one on the front nine and four on back nine, including three in last five holes.
Bedi was the best Indian, while veteran SSP Chawrasia and in-form Ajeetesh Sandhu recorded three-under 68 each to be tied 12th.
The 19-year-old Natthaphat, playing his first Asian Tour event, is one of the 10 amateurs in the field, and stole the show with a solid seven-under-par 64 to grab a one-shot lead over fellow Thai Phachara Khongwatmai (65).
Natthaphat shot eight birdies against a bogey at the Thai Country Club.
Bedi, 18, in his debut appearance at the Thai Open shares third place with Thaya Limpipolpaibul of Thailand and Soomin Lee of Korea.
Among other Indians, Khalin Joshi (69) was tied 28, S Chikkarangappa (70) and Viraj Madappa (70) were tied 41st and Jyoti Randhawa (71) was tied 56.
Rashid Khan (72) had a rough day and was tied 74, while Abhijit Chadha, Shiv Kapur and Himmat Rai, with 74 each, were tied 107. Jeev Milkha Singh and Aman Raj, with 75 each, were tied 123.
“I played pretty solid. I had a good result back home in India two weeks ago. I came in fifth at Jeev Milkha Singh Invitational event so I am just riding on the good form. I am feeding off the momentum. All parts of the game are right where they should be so I’m looking forward to the rest of the week,” said a confident Bedi.
“Things shifted for me from the 12th hole. I made a lengthy putt from over 25 feet and that gave me a lot of momentum heading into the remainder of my round. The season’s been alright for me. I have learned a lot since I first started to play on the Asian Tour.
Ridhima closes in on Hero WPG Tour title
Ridhima Dilawari, who has already won three times this season, opened up a massive six-shot lead with one more round to go in the 14th Leg of Hero Women’s Pro Golf Tour in Noida on Thursday.
Overnight co-leader Ridhima, who was one of the four players to shoot a sub-par round on the first day, was the only one of them to repeat the effort, as she brought home 71 to go with her first round 69 and get to four-under 140 in the Rupees Eight lakh event.
Amandeep Drall, the only other player to shoot under par in the second round, added 71 to her first round 75 to leap to 146 and sole second place.
Meanwhile, Diksha Dagar, who shared the first-round lead with Ridhima, suffered a severe reversal of form with six bogeys and no birdies as her 78 saw her fall to three-over 147 and third place.
Gaurika Bishnoi, the leader on the Hero Order of Merit, was also unable to land any birdies as she had three bogeys and a double on the Par-4 12th hole for a 77 that saw her at four-over 148 and fourth place.
Tvesa Malik, the other player apart from Ridhima with three wins this season, did have two birdies, but she also gave away six bogeys and a double bogey. Her back nine was a nightmare with four bogeys and a double on the Par-5 14th as she dropped to fifth place at five-over 149.
Smriti Mehra (77-76) was sixth and Anousha Tripathi (79-76) was seventh. Siddhi Kapoor (82-74) and Saaniya Sharma (78-78) were tied eighth as three players – Ishvari Prasanna (80-77), Astha Madan (77-80) and Neha Tripathi (77-80) were tied tenth.
In the final round, Ridhima will play with Diksha Dagar and Amandeep Drall, and unless there is a big change in fortunes, Ridhima is looking good to win her fourth title of the season.