Saturday, October 23, 2021

MP Cup golf: Manu Gandas, Chikkarangappa share lead

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New Delhi, Oct 5 (IANS) Gurugram’s Manu Gandas and Bengaluru’s Chikkarangappa continued their rich vein of form as they were tied for the lead along with local lads Rashid Khan and Ajay Baisoya at five-under 67 on day one of the TATA Steel PGTI MP Cup 2021.

Giving chase to the leading quartet at four-under 68 were Gulfam, another pro from the DGC just like Rashid Khan and Ajay Baisoya, as well as Shravan Desai of Ahmedabad, fresh from a career-best, tied ninth in Srinagar last month. The duo was tied for fifth place.

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Manu Gandas was off to a flying start with three birdies on the first four holes making conversions from a range of 15 to 30 feet. With two more long birdie putts on the 18th and first, Gandas moved to five-under for the day.

Gandas, currently fifth on the PGTI Order of Merit, dropped a bogey on the third but came roaring back with his longest birdie conversion of the day, a 30-footer, on the seventh.

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“I enjoyed a great day with the putter. I kept finding the hole from long range. Starting the day with a 25-feet birdie conversion on the 10th was a huge morale-booster. I also managed to get myself out of trouble from the rough on a few occasions. I’ve been playing consistent golf this season and am happy to carry forward the momentum this week,” he was quoted as saying by the PGTI in a release on Tuesday.

“The newly renovated DGC throws up its own set of challenges as the greens and the areas around it are quite different compared to what they were three years back when I played my last event here. The approach to the greens now has to be different,” said Gandas.

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Rashid Khan, who has posted top-20s in the last three events, began the day at his home course with a bogey after finding the bushes on the 10th. Khan made up for the early setback with birdies on the 12th and 18th. He then made a move with four straight birdies from the third through the sixth courtesy of his terrific putting as he drained putts from a range of 10 to 20 feet.

Chikkarangappa, currently second in the PGTI Order of Merit, made seven birdies and two bogeys during his 67 which featured a 40-feet birdie putt on the 12th.

Ajay Baisoya, playing in familiar conditions at the DGC, struck two eagles, five birdies, and four bogeys in his roun’ of 67. Baisoya’s eagles came on the 14th and 18th where he sank putts from 10 feet and eight feet respectively. He also missed a hole-in-one by a whisker on the 12th where his tee shot shaved the lip of the hole.

Indian star Jyoti Randhawa and PGTI Order of Merit leader Karandeep Kochhar of Chandigarh shot scores of 71 to be tied 25th.

Star attractions SSP Chawrasia (73), Shiv Kapur (74), and Olympian Udayan Mane (75) were placed tied 50th, tied 61st, and tied 76th respectively.

–IANS

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