Chawrasia begins with brilliant 66

Chawrasia begins with brilliant 66

Chawrasia begins with brilliant 66

Defending champion SSP Chawrasia got off to a flying start as he carded a bogey free 6-under 66 and was placed tied-5th after the first round of Resorts World Manila Masters on Thursday.

Chawrasia had three birdies on either side of the turn. Three other Indians, Arjun Atwal, Udayan Mane and Gaganjeet Bhullar also had solid starts with cards of 5-under 67 each and were tied 9th.

Korean-American Micah Lauren Shin joined Australia's Scott Barr atop the leaderboard after they set the early pace by carding an opening eight-under 64 to share the first round lead.

Among other Indians, Chiragh Kumar and Aman Raj shot 69 each and were tied 25th while Jyoti Randhawa, Khalin Joshi and Arjun Prasad scored 70 each to be tied 42nd.

Chawrasia was happy with his round and said: "I am very happy as I played well especially with my tee shots and putts. There was not much wind today so it was a little bit easier. I am looking to boost my world rankings this week and I've done well here in the past, so there are many reasons for me to look forward to and have an enjoyable time here. The key to doing well here is your short game.

"I remembered making several good putts on my way to victory last year. I was playing the same way today."

The other Indians are Shiv Kapur and Honey Baisoya with 71 each at tied 54th; Ajeetesh Sandhu, Rahil Gangjee, Himmat Rai and Sujjan Singh with 72 each in T-72nd. Further behind were S Chikkarangappa (77), Rashid Khan (78) and Jeev Milkha Singh (82).

An Asian Tour Qualifying School graduate, Shin has not missed a single cut in his last nine starts on Tour and was delighted to be leading a tournament for the first time since making the grade in January.

Barr, who is searching for his first Asian Tour win, also enjoyed an encouraging start. The Australian lost his Tour card last season but having seen a revival in form recently, he is hopeful of doing well at the USD 1 million event, which is also the richest golf tournament in the Philippines.

Thailand's Prom Meesawat and Arnond Vongvanij shared third place on matching 65s.