Most of the better-known names were left hoping for better times in the $1.25-million Hero Honda Indian Open golf championship even as some lesser-known professionals left their mark on the opening round at the DLF Golf and Country Club here.
Australian Adam Blyth, third in the last edition of the Open, set the pace early on Thursday afternoon with a blemish-free round of eight-under 64, an effort unmatched for the remainder of the day.
A shot off the lead was Korea’s born-deaf aspirant Lee Sung at 65, mainly a result of six birdies on the front-nine after teeing off from the 10th tee.
On a day when 50 players broke par, C. Muniyappa fired an eagle and three successive birdies on the last four holes for a stunning 66 to emerge as the best Indian on view by sharing the third spot.
Muniyappa, growing in confidence since gaining his card on the Asian Tour this season, chipped in from 25 yards on the 15th hole for an eagle and then sank his longest birdie-putt of the day from 30 feet on the 17th hole.
Though near-perfect conditions contributed to low scores, several seasoned names were staring at the possibility of missing the cut.
An overcautious Gaganjeet Bhullar birdied the last two holes for a 73 to improve his chances of playing on the weekend. However, former champions Arjun Atwal and Thaworn Wiratchant (75 each) along with the 2005 US Open winner New Zealand’s Michael Campbell (76) were among those facing danger of an early exit.
The scores (Indians unless stated): Adam Blyth (Aus) 64; Lee Sung (Kor) 65; Jason King (Aus), C. Muniyappa 66; Keith Horne (RSA), Daniel Chopra (Swe), Unho Park (Aus) 67; Kwanchai Tannin (Tha), Harinder Gupta, Arjun Singh, Digvijay Singh 68; Arshdeep Tiwana (A), Raju Ali, Darren Beck (Aus), Scott Hend (Aus), Panuwat Muenlek (Tha), Rahul Ganapathy, Pijit Petchkasem (Tha), Marcus Both (Aus), James Kamte (RSA) and Antonio Lascuna (Phi) 69.
Other Indians (with sub-par scores): Rashid Khan (A), Shamim Khan, Amandeep Johl, Harmeet Kahlon, Gaurav Ghei, Vinod Kumar 70; Mukesh Kumar and Ashok Kumar 71.