ICC RCGC OPEN: Ankur Chadha & Kapil Kumar take the joint lead in round one

ICC RCGC OPEN: Ankur Chadha & Kapil Kumar take the joint lead in round one

Key highlights:

. Ankur Chadha and Kapil Kumar take the joint lead in round one.

. Rookie Yuvraj Singh Sandhu, Akshay Sharma, and Anil Bajrang Mane were tied third.

{Press Release}: Gurugram’s Ankur Chadha and Delhi’s Kapil Kumar shot scores of four-under-68 to take the joint lead in round one of the inaugural ICC RCGC Open Golf Championship Powered by Bharat Benz, a TATA Steel PGTI event, being played at the Royal Calcutta Golf Club (RCGC).

The Chandigarh duo of rookie Yuvraj Singh Sandhu and Akshay Sharma, as well as Mumbai’s Anil Bajrang Mane, were tied third at three-under-69 on day one of the Rs. 40 lakh event.

Sunit Chowrasia and Md Sanju performed the best among the Kolkata golfers on Thursday as the duo was in tied sixth with matching scores of two-under-70.

Ankur Chadha grew in confidence after his good execution of a couple of tricky approach shots early in his round on the 10th and 12th. The 25-year-old was then on a roll as he came up with some quality tee shots and approaches to pick up birdies on the 14th, 16th and 18th.

Chadha, who turned professional in 2016, found the bunker on the par-3 second where he conceded his only bogey of the day after missing an up and down. Ankur seemed to make up for that error when he recovered well from the rough on the fourth with a chip-putt for birdie.

However, the tall and sturdy golfer’s best birdie came on the tough seventh hole where he found the centre of the fairway with his tee shot before landing his approach to within eight feet of the hole, a putt that he converted.

Chadha said, “The good execution of the tough approach shots on the 10th and 12th helped settle me down. I then struck it well and sank a couple of 10-footers to get my round going. The approach on the seventh was not an easy one, but I managed to land it close enough to pick up a birdie. That was the highlight of my round.

“I’m happy with my consistent and solid start as it sets up the week nicely for me,” added Ankur, playing only his second event as a professional at the RCGC.

After a steady start with pars on his first five holes, Kapil Kumar made headway when he chipped in for an eagle on the 15th. The 27-year-old Kapil, lying 46th in the PGTI Order of Merit, then collected three more birdies, two thanks to long conversions, against a bogey on the front-nine to join Chadha at the top of the pack.

Kapil, a proud holder of three-course records who turned professional at the tender age of 16 back in 2009, said, “I hit my irons well today. A good par saves from the rough on the 12th gave me a lot of self-belief.

“I’ve not been playing too well this year. But hopefully, this round can turn it around for me. Interestingly, my season-best finish of tied seventh came at the event at Tollygunge earlier this year. So, Kolkata seems to be lucky for me this season.”

Delhi’s Kshitij Naveed Kaul, the highest-ranked player in the field being fourth in the PGTI Rankings, struck an even-par-72 in round one to occupy tied 20th place.