Suradit Yongcharoenchai of Thailand posted eight birdies in his round to take a shot lead over the trio of Ajeetesh Sandhu, Tapy Ghai and Siddikur Rehman at 6-under 66 in the opening round of Panasonic Open India. His best result of the 2018 season of T-2 came at the TAKE Solutions Masters in Bengaluru, it might be safe to say that the man likes the Indian fairways more, or rather they suit him too.
The eighth edition of Panasonic Open India saw some great performances by the Indians, the list was topped by Gurgaon based 22-year old Tapy Ghai, who recently won his maiden pro title at the Kensville Open 2018, this month.
Tapi shot 5-under 67, while another young 22-year-old Veer Ahlawat carded 4-under 68. Ghai was lying Tied-2nd alongside the accomplished Siddikur Rahman of Bangladesh and India’s Ajeetesh Sandhu, who won the Yeangder TPC in Taiwan last year and was second here in Panasonic Open India in 2017.
Veer was T-5 with Thais Jazz Janewattananond and Peradol Panyathanasedh and India’s two-time Asian Tour winner, Rashid Khan, all of whom shot 69.
Kochhar was T-9 alongside India’s best-known pro, Jeev Milkha Singh, who was beaming after playing his best round of the year, a 3-under 69 to be in Top-10. “Maybe the fact that my tournament is coming up next week and seeing so many bright youngsters is inspiring me,” said Jeev with a huge smile. “I felt good and hopefully I can carry on like this.”
Like Ghai, another 22-year-old from Gurgaon is Veer Ahlawat, who is in his third season as a pro. He shot 68 but with six birdies and a double on 18th, which was his ninth, having started from the tenth.
Of the three newly-minted pros, only Kshitij Naveed Kaul, who represented India at the Asian Games, the Asia-Pacific Amateurs and Eisenhower Cup, had a decent round with an even-par 72, while Aadil Bedi (77) and Yuvraj Sandhu (81) found the going tough in their first venture in the paid ranks.
Both Bedi (T-109th) and Sandhu (T-123rd) will need solid second rounds to stay on for the weekend.