Himmat Rai hit eight birdies © Getty Images (File Photo)
Himmat Rai hit eight birdies © Getty Images (File Photo)

Bengaluru: Himmat Rai shot a dazzling seven-under 65 to put Dev Chandigarh in the lead on the opening day of the Louis Philippe Cup Pro Golf League on Wednesday. Rai’s team-mate Sujjan Singh produced a steady one-under 71 for a team total of eight-under 136 at the end of the first round at the Karnataka Golf Association course. Himmat hit eight birdies – on the first, second, fourth, fifth, eigth, 12th, 13th and 18th holes – and picked up a bogey on the 14th to end up smiling on Day One.

“I played well in patches and a couple of shots here and there could have been better. But the good thing is I converted all the opportunities,” Himmat said after his round. As expected, Shiv Prasad Chowrasia did the star turn for Take Chennai but it wasn’t enough to carry his team into the lead. Chowrasia carded a two-under 70, after producing a strong show on the back nine. He pulled off three birdies on the eigth, ninth and 13th holes. His partner, local player S. Chikkarangappa, kept pace with a 71 for a fighting team total of three-under 141. Chennai were in the third place after the first round.

“It is an excellent course. The greens are playing good. I got a few birdies but also missed some,” Chowrasia remarked. Three-time winners and defending champions Navratna Ahmedabad were right behind the Chandigarh team in the second position, with an aggregate of five-under 139. Sri Lanka’s Mithun Perera managed a cool three-under 69 while Shankar Das returned with a two-under 70.

“It was an awesome round of golf. Shankar had a good start that gave us confidence. Everyone played well and we all had a par or under par scores,” Perera said.  Perera hit birdies on the fifth, 11th, 12thand 14th holes and dropped a bogey on the eighth. “The course is very good and every team has a good chance of winning. It’s a four-day long event and anything can happen. So, we just want to stick to our basics and continue to do what we did today which will be the mantra to win the tournament for the fourth time,” he added.

The opening day also saw winners emerge in the inter-city event, with amateurs getting the opportunity to play alongside the professionals. The best two pro and amateur scores in each team were considered to determine the victors. Navratna Ahmedabad won the event with a team total of 283. Jaypee Greens Greater Noida finished four shots behind at 287 to take the second place while Take Chennai ended up two further shots behind at 289.