Johannes Veerman takes charge in Cyprus; Spotless start for Shubhankar Sharma

If Shubhankar Sharma sought some validation for his game, he found it at the Aphrodite Hills Resort in Cyprus. The Indian shot a 67, with a couple of …

148
Johannes Veerman - Getty Images

If Shubhankar Sharma sought some validation for his game, he found it at the Aphrodite Hills Resort in Cyprus. The Indian shot a 67, with a couple of birdies on either side. At 4-under, he is lying T18 in the Cyprus Open.

At the top of the leaderboard, an American and an Englishman held sway, after they posted matching scores of 64 to lead the way. Johannes Veerman and Mitch Waite share the lead. The event in Paphos meant that Cyprus earned the honour of being the 50th nation to host an event on the European Tour.

A promising round acquired more substance as Shubhankar closed out with a pair of birdies on his last two holes, after moving up the ranks with birdies at the fifth and ninth holes.

SSP Chawrasia addressed a double bogey at the par-4 eighth hole with birdies at the 10th and 13th holes. But an even 71 left him in 83rd position at the end of a low scoring opening round in the Cyprus Open.

Veerman closed out his imposing card with a birdie on the 18th hole, his fifth on Thursday. He also had an eagle on his blemish free card. Waite worked considerably harder, needing seven birdies and an eagle to address the two bogeys on his card.

At six-under, there was a crowd. Jamie Donaldson, Andy Sullivan, Joël Stalter, Sami Välimäki and David Drysdale converged in unison tapping on the heels of the two men in the lead. With ten other golfers at five-under, the end of the first day produced a loaded top deck in Cyprus.

“I hit it really well today. I think I only missed one green. Well actually, I missed one green but I holed out; so I missed one green but I made it. I hit it really well today off the tee. I think I hit almost every single fairway out there, I was really consistent, and when you’re playing well and you keep giving yourself chances for birdie, it feels great,” gushed Veerman.

“It was a little windy in the practice rounds but it wasn’t so windy out there today. In a way, that made it a little bit easier from what we were used to on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and the course, it’s in such an amazing shape, it’s pristine. If you’re hitting your lines and you’re playing from the fairway, you can go low around here.”