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Rediff.com  » Sports » Beijing Open: Gaurav Ghei leads after first round

Beijing Open: Gaurav Ghei leads after first round

April 26, 2007 21:31 IST

India's Gaurav Ghei fired an eagle in his front nine to card a brilliant seven-under-par 65 and grab the opening day honours at the Pine Valley Beijing Open on Thursday.

The 38-year-old had a flawless back nine, firing as many as five birdies, but started the front nine in even better fashion with an eagle on the par-five second hole and a birdie on the fourth hole before two dropped shots on the fifth and seventh holes.

The Delhi-based golfer surged ahead with a final birdie on the eighth hole to grab the top spot with Thai rookie Panuwat Muenlek lurking a stroke back and American John Daly two strokes further behind.

Among the other Indians in the fray, Vivek Bhandari lies joint 18th with a two-under 70 performance while Gurbaaz Mann finished with an even-par performance to be tied for the 50th position.

Bhandari began in spectacular fashion, firing in a birdie in the very first hole and blasted four more birides later against three bogeys.

However, Kolkata talent SSP Chowrasia, Harmeet Kahlon and Digvijay Singh had a disappointing day in the greens as they all carded identical cards of one-over 73s to languish at 63rd spot in the leaderboard.

It was worse for Amardip Malik and Amandeep Johl, both finishing with identical two-over 74s to be tied 78th while Uttam Singh Mundy and Rahil Gangjee were tied 115th after a horrendous round of four-over 76 and will have to come up with vastly improved shows if they are to avoid missing the cut tomorrow.

''It is good to always think back on your win and if I can keep this up, it would be nice to be among the leaders in the final round. But this is still the early stages and anything can happen,'' said Ghei, who blazed the back nine with birdies the 10th, 11th, 13th, 15th and 17th holes.

''I've been playing consistently the last few tournaments. The course is in great shape and it just depends. If the wind blows, anything is possible. I'm playing well and hope to be in contention this week.

''It definitely is a course which suits the long hitters because the fairways are generous and we have guys like John Daly who is a Major winner in the field, is it going to be a tough week to beat these guys. I'm playing well and hopefully I can continue this momentum over the next three days,'' admitted Ghei.

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