Pune: Delhi golfer Manav Jaini fired a scintillating five-under 66 to open up a two-stroke lead over Kolkata pro Rahil Gangjee and Amardip Sinh Malik of Meerut after the first round of the PGTI Players Championship here on Tuesday.
Currently eighth in the 2010 PGTI Order of Merit, Manav had a rather sluggish start at the Poona Club Golf Course where he dropped a shot on the opening hole but was three-under at the turn, having nailed four birdies in this stretch.
On resumption, he bogeyed the second hole but birdied the third, fifth and seventh to finish with a five-under card.
"I hit it well today and was accurate off the tee," Manav later said.
"My strategy was to be aggressive off the tee from the very outset as the fairways are narrow from the tee to the green and the rough is not easy to negotiate. I therefore thought it would better to be aggressive with my tee shot so that even if I find the rough it would not be too far from the green. This strategy seemed to pay off today," he explained.
Both Rahil Gangjee and Amardip Sinh Malik fired six birdies and three bogeys in their respective rounds of three-under 68 to be tied second.
Order of Merit leader Shamim Khan of Delhi shared fourth place along with Digvijay Singh and Sandeep Syal after the trio turned in identical two-under 69s.
Asian Tour winners Gaganjeet Bhullar and C Muniyappa shared the seventh place with Vinod Kumar and Pappan, all of them having carded 70.
Three shots behind was veteran Mukesh Kumar, having returned two-over 73 to be tied 23rd.
Among others, Anirban Lahiri was lying tied 37th at three-over 74, along with Pune golfers Gurki Shergill and Jaideep Patwardhan.
Defending champion Mohd Siddikur Rahman of Bangladesh got off to a poor start with a six-over 77 to be placed tied 68th.