Mukesh takes lead after round one

Veteran Mukesh Kumar turned in a bogey-free eight-under-64 to take the lead on day one of the PGTI Players’ Championship here at the Eagleton Golf Resort on Tuesday.

Bengaluru’s Udayan Mane capitalised on the familiar conditions at his home course to grab a share of the second place at seven-under-65 along with Gurgaon’s Shubhankar Sharma and unfancied Shivendra Singh Sisodia of Delhi.

Local favourite Chikkarangappa produced a 67 to be within striking distance of the lead in tied fifth along with Delhi’s Kapil Kumar on a day that witnessed 51 under-par scores.

Mukesh, who missed the cut in Hyderabad last year and then went on to win the following week in Kochi, said: “I would’ve been in contention last week had my hand not rammed into a tree while swinging in the first round. I’ve now recovered from the injury and will look to make up for last week.”

Mukesh, who last won the TATA Open just two months back, made three birdies till the turn but then added another five in the second half to shoot his best-ever score at Eagleton. He landed it within three feet of the flag on four occasions for tap-in birdies.

Mane, the 2015 PGTI Emerging Player of the Year, was one-under through three holes at his home course, before he came up with six birdies on seven holes from the 13th to the first thanks to some brilliant hitting and a couple of long putts.

Shubhankar Sharma, one of the pre-tournament favourites, mixed eight birdies with a lone bogey in his round. Shubhankar’s round featured three long birdie putts and some quality chip-putts.

Shivendra Singh Sisodia, who was the joint first round leader last week, produced an eagle, six birdies and a bogey to be in a three-way tie for second position. The 26-year-old, who came through the Qualifying School this year, has been the surprise package of the season so far, having posted a tied 23rd finish in the opening event.

Chikkarangappa occupied tied fifth place with Kapil. Chikka was two-under through 14 holes before his hat-trick of birdies on the 15, 16 and 17 where he landed it within seven feet on all three occasions.

Top scores (after 18 holes): 64: Mukesh Kumar; 65: Udayan Mane, Shivendra Sisodia, Shubhankar Sharma; 67: S Chikkarangappa, Kapil Kumar.

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