Shamim Khan set the tone for title aspirants of the BILT Open golf championship with a flawless eight-under 64 to hold a one-stroke lead over Rashid Khan on the opening day of the Rs. one-crore event at the Delhi Golf Club course here on Tuesday.
Making the most of the knowledge of his ‘home’ course, Shamim fired an ‘eagle’ and six birdies. He hit his irons well and putted even better.
On a day when conditions appeared just right for a low score, Shamim found four birdies on the trot beginning from the fifth hole. He took the turn at 32 and opened the back-nine with a stunning chip-in birdie to increase his lead.
Shamim, winner of Players’ Championship titles in Pune and Gurgaon this season, produced his best on the par-5 14th hole. After using his 3-wood twice to reach the fringe of the green, Shamim sank the ‘eagle’ putt from 25 feet.
He added another birdie on the 16th hole after his 6-iron second shot left with a 9-foot putt. “I am very happy with my short game today. I’ve been struggling with my putting in recent times. But today, it came good,” said the 34-year-old, who has finished in the top-10 bracket 13 times from 15 starts this season.
Rashid shot an ‘eagle’ and five birdies in his card of 65.
Defending champion Chiragh Kumar struggled with a round of 74 including five bogeys and three birdies. Jyoti Randhawa was part of the pack at 69.
Lucknow’s duo of Rajesh Kumar Rawat and Manoj Kumar shot a hole-in-one each on the 17th hole.
The scores: Shamim Khan 64; Rashid Khan 65; Mohammad Islam 67; Gulfam, Arshpreet Thind 68; Jyoti Randhawa, Shankar Das, Manav Jaini, Randhir Singh Ghotra, Abhinav Lohan, Rajesh Kumar Rawat, Ranjit Singh Rathore 69; Mandeo Singh Pathania, Naman Dawar, Rafick Ali Mollah 70; Anura Rohana (Sri), Mithun Perera (Sri), Dinesh Kumar, Amandeep Johl and Pawan Kumar 71.