Bhullar goes par, Shubhankar out of bounds

Last Updated 25 October 2018, 13:53 IST

Gaganjeet Bhullar carded an even-par 72 but debutant Shubhankar Sharma crashed to eight-over 80 on the opening day of the WGC-HSBC Champions here on Thursday.

While Bhullar hit three birdies and as many bogeys in his 72, Shubhankar was unable to tame the windy conditions at the Sheshan International Golf Club and ended up with eight bogeys, a double bogey and two birdies.

Bhullar, who is coming off a week's rest after the CIMB Classic in Malaysia, is lying tied 27th as only a third of the field broke par.

Shubhankar, who hit the headlines with his tied 9th finish at his maiden WGC earlier this year in Mexico, was 77th and last as Eddie Pepperell and Chris Wood withdrew.

Masters champion Patrick Reed fired a brilliant opening 64 in windy conditions as he teed up for the first time since The Ryder Cup.

Reed made eight birdies in a bogey-free effort that moved him to eight under, two shots ahead of fellow Americans Tony Finau and Xander Schauffele.

Bhullar had three each of birdies and bogeys as he found 78 per cent of the fairways and two-thirds of the greens in regulation. But he needed 30 putts for his round.

Shubhankar struggled with eight bogeys and a double bogey and his birdies came on par-5 second and par-5 18th.

Reed, who was the winner of the 2014 WGC-Cadillac Championship, also has three top tens to go with his Augusta National triumph this season to sit third in the Race to Dubai Rankings.

Matthew Fitzpatrick was at five-under, a shot clear of fellow Englishman and current Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood, Thai Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Spaniard Rafa Cabrera Bello, American Billy Horschel and Taiwan's CT Pan.

Horschel and Pan were both bogey-free in their efforts, with defending champion Justin Rose, 2012 winner Ian Poulter, fellow Englishman Matt Wallace, American Keegan Bradley, South African George Coetzee and Australian Adam Scott a shot further back.

(Published 25 October 2018, 13:31 IST)

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