Australia’s Scott Hend, Thailand’s Prayad Marksaeng and Japan’s Masahiro Kawamura also carded matching 69s to stay close to Gallacher at the US$1.75 million event staged at the challenging DLF Golf and Country Club.
Sharma, the reigning Asian Tour number one, marked his card with one eagle, three birdies and two bogeys at the course which he holds the course record of eight-under-par 64.
“The greens are a lot softer compared to last year. Three-under-par is a good score to start out the tournament especially on this golf course, you need to have a good start to keep the momentum going the next few days so I am pretty happy with how I did,” said Sharma.
Gallacher, a three-time European Tour winner, fired a stunning 67 to take the morning clubhouse lead on his own while three players stayed one shot behind including Christiaan Bezuidenhout of South Africa, Spain’s Pablo Larrazabal and Robert Karlsson of Sweden.
Aiming for a first win on Indian soil, Hend recovered brilliantly from a bad front nine by closing with three consecutive birdies in his final three holes.
“After my 17th and 18th hole we thought we would be flying tomorrow night. I three-putted the 17th and hit two balls into the water hazard on hole 18 which was a bit of a nightmare. To come back after that was great, and I think so far this year this was the best round that I have played,” said Hend, coming off his 10th Asian Tour victory last week in Malaysia.
Kawamura, a one-time Asian Tour winner, took pride in his consistent tee shots which helped him to stay out of trouble and shoot his best round at the Gary Player designed course since he last played the event in 2017 and missed the cut.
“There is a lot of trouble out on this course but I was lucky to hit out of bounds once and only lose one ball in the water hazard. Hopefully I will keep hitting my driver good the next few days,” said Kawamura.