Sports Reporter

NOIDA: Mukesh Kumar went on a birdie binge to fire a course record-equalling nine-under 63 and grab a three-stroke lead on the opening day of the Rs.10 lakh ONGC Noida Open golf tournament at the Noida Golf Course here on Tuesday.

Mukesh, in fact, sunk 10 birdies but a bogey of the 12th hole cost him the sole ownership of the course record. Chandigarh's A. S. Lehal, as an amateur, had set the record last year in the opening round of the PSPB Open tournament.

Uttam Singh Mundy was on second position at 66, while Amardip Singh Malik occupied the third place at 67.

Bang on target

Mukesh began from the 10th hole and set the ball rolling by birdying the 11th. A bunker on the 12th was the only blemish for the Mhow-based golfer. Then he had a series of birdies on the 13th, 14th, 16th and 17th holes to make the turn at four-under.

On his return journey, Mukesh birdied the first, second and fourth before sinking a superb 30 feet putt from outside the green for a birdie on the fifth. The next three holes saw Mukesh miss birdie putts from five feet or less, before he finished with a 20 feet birdie on the ninth hole.

Mundy, who finished runner-up to Mukesh last week in Chandigarh, played one of his best round to make 66. ``Every aspect of my game clicked today,'' said Mundy, whose last win came at The Hindu Open in 2004.

Jasjeet Singh led the amateur section with a round of 68. The local golfer registered five birdies in contrast to one bogey and hit as many as 14 greens in regulation. Fellow GAIL teammate, Manav Jaini, was second at 69.

The scores: 1. Mukesh Kumar 63, 2. Uttam Singh Mundy 66, 3. Amardip Singh Malik 67, 4. Vijay Kumar and Amritinder Singh 68, 5. Ali Sher, Feroz Ali, Toran Shahi, Ashok Kumar, Vivek Bhandari and S. S. P. Chowrasia 69.

Amateurs: 1. Jasjeet Singh 68, 2. Manav Jaini 69.

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