Special Correspondent

KOLKATA: Harendra Gupta of Chandigarh and Sanjay Singh of Noida were in joint lead after the first round of the PGTI Players’ championship at the Royal Calcutta Golf Club here on Wednesday. The two carded a score of three under par 33 after the opening round was reduced to nine holes, mostly on the back nine, owing to bad ground conditions.

Rahil Gangjee of Kolkata, Ashok Kumar of Delhi, Neil Mundra of Pune and Chiragh Kumar of Delhi were one stroke behind with two under 34. S.S.P. Chowrasia of Kolkata and Mukesh Kumar of Mhow carded one under 35 along with nine other golfers.

Harendra, winner of PGTI’s last event in Chandigarh, sank birdies on the third, fourth, eighth and ninth holes. A bogey on the sixth was the lone blemish on his card. Sanjay’s impressive 33 had birdies on the first and fifth, a bogey on the seventh and an eagle on the par-five eighth.

Gangjee’s two under 34 included birdies on the first, fourth, eighth, and a bogey on the sixth. Ashok Kumar, the 2006-07 PGTI Order of Merit winner, birdied the third, fourth, eighth and bogeyed the seventh.

Chowrasia had a decent outing with a card of 35. The reigning Indian Masters’ champion birdied the fourth and ninth holes and was one over on the seventh.

Harendra said, “I had a great round even though I did not find it easy to assess the speed of the greens owing to lack of practice on this course. I think my victory at Chandigarh gave me a lot of confidence heading into this tournament and that made the difference.”

Joint leader Sanjay was candid in his admission. “My hitting was not good but I made some difficult putts. I had a 20-feet putt for birdie on the first and another 20-footer for eagle on the eighth. It was one of those days when I did not play all that well but ended up with a good score. The key in wet conditions is to hit the ball softly,” he said.

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