Gritty Lahiri storms into sole lead

Gritty Lahiri storms into sole lead

 Defending champion Anirban Lahiri overcame all the challenges that the Delhi Golf Club presented, powering his way into sole lead in the opening round of the Panasonic Open here on Thursday.

The Bangalorean fired a brilliant three-under 69 to take a one shot lead over seven others who were bunched at 70.

It was a fine day for the local contingent too as four other Indians -- Shankar Das, Ashok Kumar, Sanjay Kumar and Digvijay Singh -- shot 70 each, and three others -- SSP Chowrasia, Jyoti Randhawa and Om Prakash Chouhan -- carded 71 each.  Lahiri knocked in five birdies,  and had just two bogeys, both times missing short par putts. There were two other birdie misses from less than eight feet.

Das, sixth at the SAIL-SBI Open last month at the same venue, could also have gone under 70 as he stood at three-under after 16 holes, missing short par putt on his hole penultimate hole -- 8th -- to sign the day off at 70. Randhawa, a 10th tee starter, had a birdie on 11th, but three successive bogeys from 15th to 17th saw him turn in at two-over. However, Randhawa changed things around remarkably after the turn.

Coming to terms with the windy conditions, he found birdies on third, fifth and seventh and with no more bogeys, he was under-par at 71.

Towards the end of the evening, Sanjay Kumar, who had a bogey-bogey start also finished at 70 with three birdies on the back nine. Chiragh Kumar, who was a runner-up at the Indian Open at this venue, pulled out midway because of ankle injury.  Another one pulling out due to a shoulder injury was Adam Blyth.

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