03 August, 2017: An exciting day of golf at the Karnataka Golf Association course in Bengaluru saw Indians take four of the top five spots. Viraj Madappa and Divyanshu Bajaj produced a brilliant round of golf to sign off with a 66 in the first round. Poom Saksansin of Thailand fired his lowest round of seven-under-par 64 on the Asian Tour to grab the early lead at the TAKE Solutions Masters on Thursday.
The baby-faced Poom returned with a flawless card highlighted by seven birdies to lead by two shots from Indians Viraj Madappa and Divyanshu Bajaj at the Karnataka Golf Association (KGA) Golf Course.
Syed Saqib Ahmed (67) and Gaurav Pratap Singh (-4 through 17) were lying in a tie for fourth position.
Rookie Viraj Madappa, the first player to tee off from the 10th on Thursday morning, got to three-under in no time as he sank a 15 feet eagle on the par-5 11thand followed that up with a mammoth 35 feet birdie conversion on the next. The 19-year-old’s hot putter earned him another birdie from 12 feet on the 17th as he made the turn at a promising four-under.
Viraj, playing his first international event as a professional, kept up the intensity on his second nine, delivering another birdie from 12 feet on the eighth even as he kept the errors out.
“This is my second Asian Tour event. I played in my first at the Diamond Cup in Japan as an amateur two years ago. I was really excited to start the day today. I woke up fresh and raring to go,” said Viraj.
“It is easier to build on a good start and that’s what I did. It gives you a lot of confidence knowing that you can play well. I feel like I could have gone a little bit lower. I can’t wait for the next three days to go.
“I have played here a number of times because I studied in Bengaluru, so for two years I was almost based out of this golf course.”
Australia’s Scott Barr and Chikkarangappa S. of India, who won the events twice on the Asian Development Tour (ADT), was a further two shots back in tied fourth place in the US$300,000 Asian Tour event.
Poom, who won his first Asian Tour title at the Indonesian Masters last year, chipped-in for birdie on his last hole from the edge of the green to soar into the lead and hand him his best round on the Asian Tour.
“Overall it was a good round. My driver and irons were good but I missed some putts. I hit it quite close today but missed the putts which is quite disappointing,” said Poom.
The Thai injured his back after winning in Indonesia but he is slowly finding his form again. “I hurt my back after Macao last year and didn’t play until Myanmar where I shot a 10-over-par on the first day. I felt like I didn’t know how to putt but my game is slowly coming back. I’m happy.”
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