Solid starts for Kapur, Chikka as Asian Tour returns after 20 months

Phuket, Nov 25 (Golf news) Indian golfers Shiv Kapur and S Chikkarangappa carded a solid four-under 68 each in the opening round as the Asian Tour made a welcome return to action after a gap of 20 months with the Blue Canyon Phuket Championship here on Thursday.

Kapur and Chikka were the best placed Indians at Tied-fifth after the opening day at the USD 1 million event at Blue Canyon Country Club.

It was a good day for India as three others Honey Baisoya, Karandeep Kochhar and Viraj Madappa were Tied-10th with rounds of three-under 69 each.

SSP Chawrasia, Ajeetesh Sandhu and Veer Ahwalat shot two-under 70 each and were T-24, while Indian golf legend Jeev Milkha Singh and Khalin Joshi carded one-under 71 each to be T-42nd on a low scoring day.

John Catlin took the clubhouse lead in the first round when he carded a seven-under-par 65.

On a jubilant first day back for the Tour following a long period of uncertainty caused by the pandemic, the American Catlin shot a dazzling round consisting of two eagles and three birdies ‒ on the famous Canyon Course.

As many as nine players were yet to finish their first round.

Among other Indians, Aman Raj (72) was T-61, Aadil Bedi (73) was T-79, Rashid Khan (76) was T-117th and Udayan Mane (77) was T-131st.

Kapur, who has had fair success in Thailand, had five birdies with two on the front nine and three on the back against one bogey on the second.

Chikka, looking for his maiden title on the main Asian Tour, also had five birdies against bogey.

Baisoya had six birdies, but gave away three bogeys as Karandeep Kochhar had eight birdies, but three bogeys and a double pulled him down to 69. Madappa had four birdies against one bogey.

Chinese-Taipei's Chan Shih-chang and South African Ian Snyman also impressed with 66s to sit in second place, while Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai fired a 67.

Catlin, based in Hua Hin in Thailand, has been in inspired form over the past three years ‒ claiming four Asian Tour titles and three European Tour wins ‒ and gave another masterclass today.

"I made a few long ones, I just happened to play good. And I took advantage of the par fives," said the 31-year-old Californian.

He eagled the par-five ninth after holing a 30 footer following a brave three-iron second shot, and later eagled the par-five 15th after nailing a three wood to nine feet.

"Last time I was here was in May 2020. Feels great, like I have been saying for the past four years it feels like a second home," he added.

Chan, who became a Dad recently, has also been in prolific form of late, recording four wins on his countries domestic circuit.

He was also runner-up in last week's Yeangder TPC ‒ an event normally played on the Asian Tour but wasn't this year because of COVID-19.

This week's Blue Canyon Phuket Championship will be followed by the Laguna Phuket Championship next week at Laguna Golf Phuket.

Both Phuket events boastprizemoney of USD 1 million and will be followed by two events being planned in Singapore in January that will bring to a conclusion the 2020-21 season.

Also Read : Flawless Hitaashee sets course record as Amandeep, Seher lead 13th leg of Hero WPGT

News Source : PTI


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