Delhi's Shamim Khan is first round joint leader

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Gurgoan, Feb 28 (UNI) Unheralded Shamim Khan set the course on fire with a flawless five under par 67 to upstage many a poster boy of World Golf to emerge joint leader at the end of the first round of the Johnnie Walker Classic here today.

He was joined atop the leader board by Argentinean Daniel Vancsik, who carded six birdies against a lone bogey in the US 2.5 million dollars tournament.

Showing no sign of nervousness, the 30-year-old Delhi pro teed off his day's proceedings from the 10th hole along with England's Anthony Wall and Scotland's Sam Torrance.

Playing a steady golf, Shamim shot two birdies on the 7th and 9th to go out at two under 34 and coming in, he fired three birdies on the 11th, 16th and 18th to complete the sparkling round at five under.

''I am happy with my game'' said Shamim adding ''I played very well with five birdies and no bogeys. My putting was very good. I took only 24 putts. I'm at the top of the leader board. I can't explain it in words.'' Another Indian Jeev Mlkha Singh looked set to emerge the leader as he led the field with 6 under till the 15th but hit two successive bogeys on the 16th and 17th dented his round and he ended with a score of 68.

Jeev's compatriot Rahul Ganjee also had four under par 68 with the help of five birdies and a bogey. The two Indians along with nine others - Australians Greg Chalmers, Adam Scott, Unho Park, Paul Sheehan, South African James Kamte, Robert Jan Derksen of the Netherlands, England's Mark Foster, Japan's Trichiro Kiyoto and US' Jason Khutzon were tied at joint third place.

Indian trio of Arjun Atwal, Shiv Kapur and Arjun Singh enjoyed strong opening rounds with 69 and were tied 13th with six others.

Jeev was bit disappointed with two bogeys which came at the fag end of the round. ''I played solid till the 15th but missed a small putt on the 16th and was very aggressive on he 17th,'' said the Chandigarh based pro.

''I am not happy the way I played on the 18th,'' he said but added ''I am happy with the first day showing. There are still three days left, this course is a good test of Golf.'' The 35-year-old Florida based Arjun Atwal started well with a birdie and then fired another on the 7th to end the outward journey with two under 34 but he fumbled on his way back and lost the advantage. He had a birdie on the 10th but two successive bogeys on the 11th and 12th spoiled his round.

He, however, managed salvage situation with birdies on the 13th and 14th to end the day with three under par 69 score.

''It was good'' said Atwal about his round, ''I did not really hit it all that great, but I putted well in the first 10th, 11th holes, but then I did not putt all that great.'' MORE UNI HSB RAR RAI1850

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