Himmat in shared lead, Digvijay ninth at Philippine Open
Manila: Indian golfer Himmat Rai was off to a fine start in the Philippine Open, carding a four-under 68 in the first round for a share of the lead in the weather-hit USD 300,000 Asian Tour event on Thursday.
He shared the lead with another Asian Tour youngster Thanyakon Khrongpha of Thailand.
Himmat and Thanyakon had a one shot lead at the challenging par-72, 7222 Yards Wack Wack Golf and Country Club.
Meanwhile there were mixed results for other Indians. Digvijay Singh (70) was tied ninth, Sujjan Singh (71) and Amardip Sing Malik, both one-under through 15 hole are tied 15th.
Manav Jaini (72) was tied 30th as was Mandeo Pathania (even par through 15), while Chiragh Kumar (75) and Vikrant Chopra (76) were struggling to make the cut.
Veteran Wang Ter-chang of Chinese Taipei, who at the age of 49 is more than 20 years the senior of the clubhouse leaders, was tied third with an in-form Berry Henson of the United States and Peter Karmis of South Africa.
Playing from the back nine, Rai turned in 32 highlighted by a huge 25-feet birdie putt on the 14th hole and credited his strong iron play where he found 15 greens.
"You need to keep the ball in play and that`s what I did. If you find the fairways, you have a very strong chance of scoring because the greens are excellent," said the 23-year-old, who registered a birdie and a bogey in his homeward nine.
He was delighted to bounce back from last week`s Impian Classic in Malaysia on the Asian Development Tour where he was tied for the lead before shooting a final round 75 to finish in tied fifth place.
"There were a lot positive things that came out from last week. I`m beginning to feel competitive again and I learned a lot from that experience which I`m carrying with me this week," added Rai, who is looking for his maiden Asian Tour victory.