SSP Chawrasia makes a promising return in the Scottish Championship

SSP Chawrasia marked his return to golf with a solid 69 while Shubhankar Sharma made 71. Adrian Otaegui took a three-shot lead with a 62

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SSP Chawrasia - Getty Images

Playing for the first time since March, SSP Chawrasia showed no sign of rust or ill effects of his battle with coronavirus. The 42-year-old Indian played with remarkable touch and control to post a three-under 69 in the opening round of the Scottish Championship. Shubhankar Sharma sought to build on a couple of positive weeks with a resolute 71. Adrian Otaegui shot a brilliant 62 to take a three shot lead over Bryce Easton and Matt Wallace. Padraig Harrington also played well for his 66.

Chawrasia started on the tenth hole, sailing past the turn with birdies at the 11th and 16th holes. He took wings on his second nine, scoring three birdies in four holes, going five-under with only three holes left to play.

The two-time Hero Indian Open champion dealt with some late strife as he conceded three bogeys in four holes from the fifth before finishing with a par on the ninth hole. He is lying in 21st place.

Shubhankar has been playing some good golf since missing the cut in the Andalucia Masters. He was T26 in the Scottish Open and made the cut in his last four events. On Thursday, Shubhankar reached three-under with back to back birdies on the sixth and seventh holes.

Shubhankar Sharma - Getty Images
Shubhankar Sharma – Getty Images

Unfortunately though, he hurt his card with three bogeys in five holes as he fell back to even par by the 12th hole. A birdie on the 18th hole helped Shubhankar finish the day in the red, at 45th on the leaderboard.

A bogey-free 62 helped Adrian Otaegui gain a handsome lead early in the tournament. The Spaniard made a hat-trick of birdies on either side of his march. At ten-under, he is comfortably ahead of Wallace and Easton, both of whom made 65.

Adrian Otaegui - Getty Images
Adrian Otaegui – Getty Images

“Almost everything worked today. I started with three birdies and I played very well from tee to green, felt confident and relaxed. Almost everything went well today. 62 is really, really good. 

“I felt like a good round could come, I didn’t know how good but the last two weeks, even if the results were not very good, I was playing very well from tee to green and feeling good. But the putting wasn’t there. Today the putting did go well. Same putter, just changed my stance and my grip a little bit.

“I was feeling good in the practice days, but until you play a tournament you don’t know what’s going to happen. I played the same from tee to green, but the putter was hot today. That was the main difference.”

In the chasing pack are European Ryder Cup Captain Padraig Harrington and Englishmen Garrick Porteous, Chris Paisley and Aaron Rai. All of them made 66 in the first round. Rai won the recent Scottish Open with some spectacular golf on the finishing stretch.