BANGALORE: Ashok Kumar, fresh from his success at Digboi, where he bagged the Indian Oil Xtrapremium masters, carded a brilliant six-under-par 64 in the Solaris Global Green golf tournament at the Bangalore Golf Club here on Thursday. Hitting the greens and finding the flag with amazing consistency, Ashok lead the pack of 120 professionals competing for the richest purse in South India.
Ashok played unblemished golf to submit a bogey free card. Teeing off from the tenth tee-box, Ashok had a superb card with an eagle on the fourth and four other birdies. All his birdies were from around two feet from the pin and he didn't drop a stroke anywhere. The eagle on the par five fourth hole saw Ashok use his driver off the tee and a seven iron for his second shot that placed him two feet from the flag. The eagle was achieved with a simple putt.
Harmeet Kahlon, winner of the Emaar-MGF tournament at the KGA here in December, went through his usual pre-putting routine to submit a card of four under 66 to be two stroke shy of Ashok on the first day's leader board. Harmeet also had a great start with a 20-foot putt for birdie on the second hole. Harmeet currently leads the order of merit after four rounds on the PGTI championship.
The tight course at the Bangalore Golf Club posed no threats to the golfers as 20 of them returned with below par scores. Digvijay Singh and local hope Rahul Ganapathy were in tied third position along with Kunal Bhasin and Vivek Bhandary. Himmat Rai playing in his first professional tournament played to par.
In the amateur section, Abhishek Jha's one over 71 saw him lead by three strokes from Anand Srinivasan and junior Chikkarangappa who were bracketed with a score of 74.
The scores: First round: Ashok Kumar (64), Harmeet Kahlon (66), Digvijay Singh, Kunal Bhasin, Rahul Ganapathy and Vivek Bhandari (67 each), Yusuf Ali, Chini Ali, Ranjit Singh, Gaganjeet Bhullar, C. Muniyappa, Lam Chi Bing (Singapore), Rafick Ali Molah and Shankar Das (68 each).
Amateurs: Abhishek Jha (71), Anand Srinivasan and Chikkarngappa (74 each), Pradeep Krishna (76), R.N. Shashank (77), Arjun Lall (78), Jaibir Singh (81). Special Correspondent