Karandeep Kochhar of Chandigarh struck a masterly eight-under-63 to seize the first-round lead at the season-opening Golconda Masters tournament in Hyderabad on Wednesday.

The 20-year-old Kochhar, who capped his career-best season last year with a fourth-place finish on the TATA Steel PGTI Order of Merit, enjoyed a one-stroke advantage over Patna’s Aman Raj and the Bengaluru duo of Trishul Chinnappa and Khalin Joshi – all three of whom posted 64s. It was a low-scoring day with as many as 51 players shooting under-par rounds.

Five players were bunched together in tied fifth with rounds of 65. This included Sri Lankan Mithun Perera, Mhow’s Om Prakash Chouhan, Ludhiana’s Pukhraj Singh Gill, Gurugram’s Veer Ahlawat and Kolkata’s Shankar Das.

Rashid Khan, the leading Indian also the 2019 PGTI Order of Merit champion, carded a 66 to be placed tied 10th.

Pune’s Udayan Mane, the 2018 Golconda Masters champion and winner of PGTI’s last event in December 2019, returned a 68 to be tied 18th. Venkkat Gautham was the best-placed among the Hyderabad-based professionals. He was in tied 27th courtesy his two-under-69.

Former Indian hockey captain Dilip Tirkey, playing as a professional for the first time, produced a 10-over-81 to be placed 125th.