Gurgaon, May 2 (UNI) Ashok Kumar fired a course record equalling five-under 66 to assume the lead after the opening round of the Rs 15 lakh TSM-Golden Greens Open at the par-71 Golden Greens Golf&Country Club here today.
Ashok equalled the record set by leading Indian amateur Joseph Chakola at the Golden Greens Amateur Golf Championship at this venue in February this year.
Placed second at a score of 67 were Delhi's Arjun Singh, Bangalore boys C Muniyappa and S Madhaiah and amateur Shaurya Singh.
Rafick Ali of Kolkata and Mysore's Rahul Ganapathy share the seventh spot at 68.
Despite his talents, consistency has never been Ashok Kumar's strength and he looked on a mission here.
A 10th tee starter, Ashok played his front nine to perfection studding it with birdies on the 15th, 17th and 18th. The effort on the 17th was the result of a two-iron, five-iron combination culminating in a brilliant 25 feet putt.
Another birdie on the second placed him at four-under with seven to go. However, bogeys on the third and fifth, where on the first occasion Ashok missed a two feet putt and on the second found the heart of a thick bush with his driver, decelerated the progress.
Not one to give up easily, Ashok went on the birdie the seventh and ended his round with an astounding eagle. The eagle was set up with a driver followed by a three-wood that placed the ball six feet from the pin.
Arjun Singh's round, which commenced on the first tee box, took off to a brilliant start with a hat-trick of birdies studding his first three holes.
Arjun's purple patch suddenly changed colour and he double bogeyed the fifth and sixth. However, Arjun recovered with birdies on the ninth, 10th, 11th, 14th and 15th.
C Muniyappa, a 10th tee starter, struggled early on with bogeys on the 14th and 15th but more than recovered the lost ground with birdies on the 18th, first, second, third, sixth and ninth.
His city-mate and close friend S Madhaiah began from the first tee and after three-putting to drop a shot on the fifth, was placed at one-over at the turn.
The wiry golfer however went on to birdie the 10th, 11th, 14th 15th and 18th to stage a recovery.
Shaurya Singh, on the other hand, fired an impressive round of 67 to assume the lead among the amateurs.
Scores(after 18 holes): 66- Ashok Kumar; 67- Arjun Singh, C Muniyappa, S Madhaiah, Shaurya Singh (Amateur); 68- Rahul Ganapathy, Rafick Ali; 69- Ali Sher, AS Lehal; 70- Tarun Ghogale (Amateur), Vivek Bhandari, Amritinder Singh, Jaiveer Virk Amateurs: 67- Shaurya Singh; 70- Tarun Ghogale.
UNI XC AY PG VC1937