SSP Chawrasia, who finished the Oman Open with a fine final round, carried on the good work with a four-under 68 on the first day of Qatar Masters in Doha on Thursday. The card may well have been a shot better but for a bogey on the last hole.
Chawrasia, lying tied ninth along with six others, was three shots behind rookie Nicolai Hojgaard, who produced a remarkable run of scoring on the back nine to take the first round lead at seven-under as he looks to follow brother Rasmus into the winner’s circle.
Joost Luiten (65) is lying second at six-under, while six players including Andy Sullivan are at five-under 66. Chawrasia and six are four-under. India’s other star in the fray, Shubhankar Sharma had an eventful card with seven birdies, five bogeys and a double in an even par 71.
Chawrasia started from 10th with birdies on 10th, 11th, 13th and 15th, as he was four-under through six holes. He parred all the way till he birdied again on eighth, his 17th hole, but gave away his first bogey on the ninth, his closing hole for a day’s work of 68.
Sharmila tied sixth in Jabra
Sharmila Nicollet recovered fast from back-to-back bogeys on front nine to find birdies on seventh and ninth and then par the entire back nine for a tied sixth place after two rounds of Jabra Ladies Open on Sunshine Tour.
Nicollet, who is playing the Sunshine Tour in South Africa to find her form back, has played well enough over the last few weeks. Ashleigh Buhai (69 and 12-under), Stacy Bregman (68 and 9-under) and Cassandra Hall (66 and 8-under) occupy the top three spots. Jane Turner (69) is a distant fourth at four-under. Saturday will be the third and final day of the 54-hole event.
Chikka best-placed Indian at 13th
S Chikkarangappa had a bogey-free four-under 68 to be the best-placed Indian at tied 13th in the weather-hit first round of Bandar Malaysia Open. Chikka was the best Indian, while Rahil Gangjee was poised for a fine start at three-under through 14 holes. Gaganjeet Bhulllar and Jeev Milkha Singh signed for two-under 70 each and were tied 31st.
Ajeetesh Sandhu and Shiv Kapur shot one-under 71 each, while Aman Raj was two-under through 17 holes. Things didn’t go well for Rashid Khan and Viraj Madappa, who turned in scores of four-over 76 each. Australian Andrew Dodt took advantage of a hot start to sign for an opening nine-under-par 63 and grab the clubhouse lead by two shots.
Reigning Asian Development Tour Order of Merit champion Naoki Sekito of Japan closed with three consecutive birdies to sit in second place at the USD 1 million event, which is sanctioned by the Asian Tour in partnership with the Japan Golf Tour Organisation.