06 August 2021: Calum Hill carded the lowest round of his European Tour career as he took a one stroke lead at the Hero Open. Shiv Kapur, playing just his second event in 2021, got off to an even start. Shubhankar Sharma returned the best score among the Indian golfers, shooting five-under 67.
Shubhankar made four straight birdies from the 12th as he forced his way inside the top ten. He is lying T9 with nine other golfers. The Indian made a bogey on the ninth and six birdies in an impressive opening round.
Shiv Kapur took a colourful route to an even 72. His card contained six birdies, three on either side. But he also had to account for a double bogey at the fourth and four other bogeys, explaining why he remained despite half a dozen birdies.
Gaganjeet Bhullar and SSP Chawrasia got off to a 76 landing them firmly in the bottom zone. Bhullar made four birdies but conceded eight strokes including doubles on the par-3 fifth and eighth. Chawrasia shot two birdies and ended his day with a double at the 18th hole.
Ajeetesh Sandhu was a further shot back in 77. All three men have a job to do on Friday trying to address the lost shots and make a massive effort to retrieve their weekend.
One of the day’s early starters, the 26-year-old made the most of benign conditions as he signed for a bogey free round of 63, setting a new course record in the process on the Torrance Course at Fairmont St Andrews.
Searching for a maiden European Tour victory, Hill is one of 17 players in the field bidding to become the first Scottish winner on home soil since Paul Lawrie in 2012. He sits one stroke ahead of Scandinavian Mixed winner Jonathan Caldwell of Northern Ireland.
Caldwell carded seven birdies and an eagle as he signed for an eight under par 64, one stroke clear of Ross Fisher of England, American Chase Hanna and Robin Sciot-Siegrist of France.
In a share of sixth on six under par are Chris Paisley, Alvaro Quiros and Nicolai von Dellingshausen.
“I putted well. I didn’t put it in places that caused me too much bother – I did make my fair share of putts. One really good 15-footer on number one to save par and a lot of mid-range putts for birdies,” said Hill.
“We got the best part of (the weather) 100 per cent. Our front nine was relatively calm, probably half a club wind, then back nine picked up. We got three quarters of our day in quite pleasant conditions, I think it’s just getting worse from here – we took advantage.
“I really enjoy it (playing at home). There’s a lot of family and friends who can come and watch, I always enjoy playing in front of people I know. It makes it good fun.”
Scores after Round One:
63 C HILL (SCO),
64 J CALDWELL (NIR),
65 R FISHER (ENG), R SCIOT-SIEGRIST (FRA), C HANNA (USA),
66 C PAISLEY (ENG), A QUIROS (ESP), N VON DELLINGSHAUSEN (GER),
67 B HENSON (USA), H LEON (CHI), S TARRIO (ESP), R RAMSAY (SCO), T TREE (ENG), S SHARMA (IND), D LAW (SCO), K REITAN (NOR), A OTAEGUI (ESP), L BJERREGAARD (DEN), M JORDAN (ENG), B EASTON (RSA),
68 J WALTERS (RSA), J SMITH (ENG), G FORREST (SCO), L SLATTERY (ENG), P FIGUEIREDO (POR), E DE LA RIVA (ESP),
69 A LEVY (FRA), S KIM (USA), C SHINKWIN (ENG), T KOIVISTO (USA), G STAL (FRA), D HILLIER (NZL), J MORRISON (ENG), G PORTEOUS (ENG),
70 M SIEM (GER), M FORD (ENG), R MCEVOY (ENG), G MOYNIHAN (IRL), Y CHANG (KOR),
71 O FARR (WAL), F LAPORTA (ITA), N ELVIRA (ESP), M KINHULT (SWE), S JAMIESON (SCO), D VAN DRIEL (NED), A CHESTERS (ENG), P WARING (ENG), A ZEMMER (ITA), D GAVINS (ENG), D DRYSDALE (SCO), B EVANS (ENG), N KEARNEY (IRL),
72 S HEND (AUS), A KARLSSON (SWE), J CAMPILLO (ESP), A BAUTISTA (AUS), R SANTOS (POR), E CUARTERO BLANCO (ESP), W BESSELING (NED), R ENOCH (WAL), D PAPADATOS (AUS), M ARMITAGE (ENG), M SOUTHGATE (ENG), D PERRIER (FRA), B RITTHAMMER (GER), F KENNEDY (AM) (ENG), S KAPUR (IND),