Daniel Chopra takes a few days to get used to the ‘Delhi rhythm’ when he comes to the capital city. This time it was no different, even though he found his playing rhythm on the opening day of the Shubhkamna Champions event by carding an eight-under 64 and grabbing a two-stroke lead at the Noida Golf Course (NGC) here on Friday.
The Indian-origin Swede, who mostly plays on the USPGA Tour, enjoys being in Delhi where he spent seven years of his childhood and learnt his first lessons of golf at the Delhi Golf Club.
The right excuse
“I would like to make a few more trips every year. The right excuse for me is having a golf tournament to play. Makes it easier to justify travelling so far,” said Chopra.
“Already thinking that there are (just) two days to go. Somewhere you start to feel sad, it is time to leave. It takes a few days to get into the Delhi rhythm,” the 38-year-old said.
The year had not been a great one for Chopra, who managed two top-25 finishes on the USPGA Tour. He had two good finishes on the Asian Tour towards the end of the year.
Chopra, however, insisted he had been playing well.
His first round at the Shubhkamna event supported his claims. Chopra, who began his journey from the third hole in a simultaneous shotgun start, sunk eight birdies and an eagle against two bogeys.
Chopra earned the eagle with a 30-foot putt on the 17th hole. Then he missed a two-foot birdie on the next. “I drove nicely and putted beautifully,” Chopra summed up his performance.
Ajeetesh Sandhu and Anura Rohana shared the second place at six-under 66. Sandhu, this year’s DLF Masters winner, played a fine bogey-free round. On the short course, he hit it close and putted six birdies, including four in a row, from about 12 to 15 feet.
Gaganjeet Bhullar, who had a tremendous season with two Asian Tour titles this year, returned a five-under 67 card to be at the fourth spot. Bhullar, who was one-under after nine holes, gathered six birdies and a double bogey.
The scores: Daniel Chopra 64; Ajeetesh Sandhu, Anura Rohana 66; Gaganjeet Bhullar 67; Mukesh Kumar, Shiv Kapur, Jyoti Randhawa 68; Anirban Lahiri, Jeev Milkha Singh, Abhijit Singh Chadha 69; Arjun Atwal, Zamal Hossain Mollah 70; Ashok Kumar and Rahil Gangjee 71.
Keywords: Shubhkamna Champions event