Joshi hits the front on debut

Joshi hits the front on debut

Indian fires 6-under to share the lead with Thai Chapchai on day one

Joshi hits the front on debut

Rookie Khalin Joshi got off to a dream debut on the Asian Tour, firing a brilliant six-under 66 to share the lead with Thailand’s Chapchai Nirat in the SAIL-SBI Open here at the Delhi Golf Club on Wednesday.

Chapchai and Joshi lead by one shot over Qualifying School winner Chan Kim of the United States.

Chapchai launched his quest to end a four-year winless run in stunning fashion, smashing eight birdies against two bogeys.

Joshi, an afternoon starter who is playing in his debut pro season, showed his potential with a nine-birdie effort with three bogeys ruining his chance off grabbing the sole lead.

India’s Chiragh Kumar shot a solid 68 to share third place with Bangladeshi Siddikur while Shiv Kapur (69) failed to capitalise on his magnificent outward 29 when he came home in 40 after taking a quadruple bogey eight on the sixth hole.
Manav Jaini, another DGC star who has some excellent finishes in Asian Tour events at his home course, also carded a creditable 69.

Defending champion Anirban Lahiri started with a sedate one-under 71, while Rikard Karlberg, champion in 2010, shot even-par 72.

Four-time Asian Tour winner Gaganjeet Bhullar endured a disappointing day after shooting three-over 75. Completely thrilled with his effort, 20-year-old Joshi said he couldn’t have hoped for a better beginning to his Asian Tour debut.

“It was a great start. I putted really well today. I’ve been hitting the ball well the past few weeks but the putter was hot today. Hit a great tee shot on the seventh hole to two inches, wish it was a hole in one!”

“I’m going to approach the rest of the week like how I did today, just play within myself. This is the first week I am not playing with my driver. I’ll do that the whole week. Just keep the same attitude,” added the Bangalorean who emerged as top amateur golfer of India last year.

Speaking of his fellow Bangalorean Lahiri, Joshi said he always tries to learn from him.
“Anirban is a great friend of mine and I look up to him. I’m looking forward to doing something this week. It will mean the world to me, if I can win my first Asian Tour tournament as a pro. I’m looking forward to it.”

The 29-year-old Chapchai, whose last victory was in the SAIL-SBI Open in 2009 when he set a world record for 72-holes with his winning 32-under 256 total, wielded a hot putter to move up the leaderboard.

“My putting was very good today. I made a lot of one putts out there, probably took 27 or 28 putts.”