Ganapathy leads after AIS Golf 1st round

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Gurgaon, Sep, 10 (UNI) Rahul Ganapathy fired a bogey-free round of five under 67 in the opening round to emerge as the leader in The AIS Golf Open at the Golden Greens golf course here today.

Feroz Ali Mollah, Ashok Kumar and Digvijay Singh share second place as they recorded identical scores of four under 68 in the first round.

Gaurav Diwan ended the day in fifth place at three under 69.

Rahul Ganapathy's near-flawless round of 67 included five birdies. On the front nine he knocked down birdies on the fifth and sixth to lay the foundation for a solid first round.

Ganapathy then fired three more birdies on the 10th, 12th and 18th to make his way to the top of the leaderboard.

''I hit the ball really well today and couldn't have asked for a better start to the tournament. I was particularly happy with the 25 feet putt that I made for birdie on the 12th. That was one of the longest putts I have made in the past three to four weeks,'' said Ganapathy.

''I fancy myself on this course as I won my last tournament here in January 2008. The course is playing really well and I guess the winning score could be 13 or 14 under,'' he added.

Kolkata's Feroz Ali Mollah fired 68 to share second place along with Ashok Kumar and Digvijay Singh. Feroz made birdies on the third and sixth and dropped a bogey on the eighth to make the turn at one under. On the back nine he birdied the 11th, bogeyed the 12th, sank an eagle on the 14th and then closed with a birdie on the 18th.

''I was in great hitting form today and missed the fairway on only two holes. I think the eagle on the par five 14th was really special for me. I hit an excellent drive on the 14th and followed it up with a good six iron approach shot that landed 30 feet short of the pin,'' Mollah said.

Ashok Kumar and Digvijay Singh also shot scores of 68. Ashok sank an eagle on the 18th, birdied the 11th, 12th, 16th and third besides dropping bogeys on the 10th and 14th. Digvijay on the other hand, birdied the second, sixth, seventh, 11th, 15th, 18th and bogeyed the 12th and 16th.

Bangalore's Gaurav Diwan is currently placed fifth as he carded three under 69.

Gaurav Ghei, Gaganjeet Bhullar, Mukesh Kumar, Harendra Gupta, Ajeetesh Sandhu, Ranjit Singh, Chiragh Kumar and Vikrant Chopra are all tied sixth with matching scores of two under 70.

Shamim Khan and Vijay Kumar are both tied 32nd as they returned scores of two over 74.

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