The trio of Mukesh Kumar, Ashok Kumar and Jumman were sitting pretty atop the leader-board with identical cards of 69 on day one of the Sir Padampat Singhania Open being played at the Noida Golf Course. The tournament is the 14th leg of the Hero Honda Golf Tour.
Meanwhile, there were as many as six players lying a stroke behind the leaders. Veteran Rohtas Singh, rookie Sandeep Syal, Rafick Ali, Yusuf Ali, Pappan, Gast Ram and SSP Chowrasia all submitted cards of 70.
Starting from the tenth tee, the four-time Order of Merit winner Mukesh Kumar played a near-flawless round as he recorded four birdies, two on the back nine and an equal number on the front. The only bogey of his round came on the ninth, his finishing hole. "It was disappointing to finish with a bogey but overall I am happy with the way I played today", said the pro from Mhow.
Delhi pro Ashok Kumar, who finished a creditable tied19th at the Myanmar Open on the Asian PGA Tour last week, set the tone for his round in the very beginning as he birdied the par-5 opening hole. He went onto record birdies on the eighth, fourteenth and seventeenth holes.
A bogey on the sixth marred his otherwise perfect round. On that hole his drive found the rough on the left edge from where he chipped on to the fairway and played for a bogey.
"ConsideringI came back only day before yesterday from Burma and didn't get a practice round, I am quite happy with the way I was striking the ball. I hope to have an even better round tomorrow" said the Delhi Golf Club pro.
Jumman, the third player leading on the day, recorded six birdies in his round of 69. Starting from the first tee, the Lucknow golfer started with a birdie on the first and then after a bogey on the par-3 third hole recovered to score three birdies on the trot on the 5th, 6th and 7th. Some bad putting on his return journey saw him make bogies on the 15th and 17th holes.
Chirag leads amateur field: Amongst the amateurs, Chirag Kumar of Delhi returned the best card with a score of 71. Three strokes behind at 74 was local amateur Simarjeet Singh.
SCORES(after 18 holes):
69 Ashok Kumar, Mukesh Kumar, Jumman, 70 Yusuf Ali,
Shiv Shankar Prasad Chowrasia, Gast Ram, Pappan, Rafiq Ali, Sandeep Syal,
Amateurs: 71 Chirag Kumar; 74 Simarjeet Singh