Nov 15, 2019: India’s Khalin Joshi raised his hopes of becoming the first player to defend the Panasonic Open India crown when he shot a first round of five-under-67 to join eight other Indians in tied fifth place.
The first round of the Panasonic Open India resumed at 11 am (local time) with the 66 players, who were scheduled for the afternoon rounds on the opening day, beginning their challenge at the Classic Golf and Country Club.
Thailand’s Itthipat Buranatanyarat, who had fired an eight-under-64 on Thursday to take the clubhouse lead, ended up as the round one leader as no one could catch up with his score on day two.
Myanmar’s Ye Htet Aung, Australia’s Terry Pilkadaris and Indonesia’s Danny Masrin occupy joint second place with rounds of six-under-66.
Khalin Joshi started well today with birdies on three of his first four holes which included a chip-in on the third and a brilliant approach from 100 yards on the fourth that set up a tap-in. Khalin then stumbled with a couple of bogeys midway through his round before regaining control with birdies on his last two holes.
Joshi, who scored seven birdies and two bogeys, said, “I’m not really happy with my round to be honest. I just played five holes well and the rest of it was mostly scrambling. I’m happy with my score but I have a lot more to do as far as my long-game is concerned. That’s the reason I headed straight to the range immediately after my round. I need to sort out a few things with my ball-striking.
“I’m defending my crown at a course where I’ve done well in the past with a title under my belt. So I’m quite confident in that sense. After a great start, the two bogeys on the ninth and 11th were disappointing as I was in a good position on both holes. However, it was nice to finish with birdies on the last two holes.”
The other Indians bunched in tied fifth included Arjun Prasad, Shiv Kapur, M Dharma and Shankar Das, all of whom shot 67s on Thursday as well as Rashid Khan, Karandeep Kochhar, Kshitij Naveed Kaul and Vikrant Chopra, the ones who fired 67s on Friday.
Rashid Khan, who has already sealed his card for the Asian Tour next year, played solid and missed just one green today. Rashid was four-under through nine holes and had a good chance of going low but then had his only bad hole of the day on the second, where he misjudged the wind and landed his tee shot in the bunker which resulted in his only bogey of the day.
Khan, a winner of two events on the PGTI this year, said, “I have some good memories from my last Asian Tour event here at Classic in September where I finished second. However, I’m striking it better this time around and my confidence is higher as compared to the last event. I’m also making more putts as compared to the event in September.”
Karandeep Kochhar, like Rashid, made six birdies and a bogey on Friday. Kochhar, the man with a tied second finish at the Panasonic Open India 2017, created lot of chances for himself with a high percentage of fairways found and greens in regulation. Karandeep was however disappointed to miss birdies from within 10 feet on four occasions.
Kochhar said, “Overall, despite some missed putts today, there was nothing wrong with my decision making. I hit the putts exactly like I wanted to, it’s just that the ball didn’t do what I thought it would do but I can live with that.
Hopefully I can make some more putts tomorrow. If I keep hitting the ball like I am now I’ll give myself some more chances of doing well here over the next two days, hopefully make some more putts. Let’s see where it gets me because I’m keen to keep my Asian Tour card.
I have just two chances to retain my Asian Tour card. I’m outside the top 100 right now, so hopefully I’ll have a good week here this week. Then I’m playing next week in Malaysia so these two weeks I need to somehow manage to keep going and keep my Asian Tour card.
Kshitij Naveed Kaul’s bogey-free effort and Vikrant Chopra’s six birdies and a bogey also placed them tied fifth.
Aman Raj and Sanjay Kumar are tied 16th with scores of four-under-68.
In view of the weather conditions, the Panasonic Open India has been reduced to a 54-hole event.
A four-tee start has again been scheduled for the second round on Saturday so that it can be completed in time for the third and final round which will be played on Sunday.