Chikkarangappa off to flying start with a seven-under-65

Srinagar: Bangalore`s S Chikkarangappa shot a blistering seven-under-65 to take the round-one lead at the PGTI Kashmir Masters here on Wednesday.

Sri Lankan K Prabagaran was a shot behind the leader in second place.

Chikkarangappa dropped a bogey early on the 11th but landed it close for birdies on the 14th and 17th to make the turn at one-under.

The two-time winner on the PGTI then had a golden run of consecutive birdies from the first to the fifth followed by another birdie on the seventh.

Chikka, who was reading the greens to perfection, chipped-in on the second and made 12 to 15 feet putts on the fourth, fifth and seventh.

Chikka, currently placed seventh on the Rolex Rankings, said, "The practice round yesterday really helped me get it right on the greens which have more slopes than the ones at Pahalgam last week. The rough is up so there`s a premium on hitting fairways. I scored well since I missed only one out of 14 fairways today. I also made 16 greens in regulation which is a personal best."

K Prabagaran, who also had a good outing in Pahalgam, began with an impressive bogey-free 66 on Wednesday at the Royal Springs Golf Course.

Prabagaran, a winner on the PGTI in 2014, drained a couple of long putts and landed it within six feet on three occasions, courtesy some outstanding wedge shots.

Noida`s Amardip Sinh Malik, Bangalore`s Khalin Joshi and Vinod Kumar of Delhi are tied third at five-under-67. Delhi golfer Rashid Khan and Greater Noida`s Mandeo Singh Pathania are a further shot behind in tied sixth position.

Jyoti Randhawa occupies joint eighth place at three-under-69 along with Chandigarh golfers Harmeet Kahlon and Ajeetesh Sandhu, the Delhi duo of Karan Vasudeva and Gulfam, Noida`s Gaurav Pratap Singh and Gurgaon-based Arshdeep Tiwana.

The Kolkata duo of SSP Chowrasia (71) and Rahil Gangjee (72) are placed tied 22nd and tied 29th respectively.

Raghav Wahi of Jammu shot two-over-74 to be tied 56th. He was the highest-placed golfer from the host state at the end of round one.

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