Kapur, Chowrasia shoot 1-under in rain-hit Ballantine`s

Incheon: Shiv Kapur and SSP Chowrasia were placed at tied 34th on a low key day for the Indians in the first round of the weather-disrupted USD 2.8 million Ballantine`s Championship here on Thursday.

Both Kapur and Chowrasia shot one-under 71 each.

Kieran Pratt of Australia carded a flawless five-under par 67 to take a share of the first round clubhouse lead as poor visibility and rain in the morning led to play being suspended.

With over two hours of play lost, all 78 players from the afternoon session will have to return at 7.30am tomorrow morning to resume their first round.

Gaganjeet Bhullar and Jyoti Randhawa were both at even par, though Randhawa still had six holes to play. Jeev Milkha Singh (73) was tied 76th, while Anirban Lahiri was one-over with five holes to play, but C Muniyappa shot 74. Himmat Rai struggled to a 77, while Digvijay was also five-over through 10 holes.

France`s Jean-Baptiste Gonnet, Sweden`s Johan Edfors, England`s Matthew Baldwin and Korea`s Kim Gi-whan joined Pratt atop the leaderboard after they returned with matching 67s at the Blackstone Golf Club.

The 2010 Open Champion and world number seven, Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa is one shot back of the leaders at four-under through 16 holes when play was suspended due to fading light.

Pratt is no stranger to success, having won his maiden Asian Tour title in Myanmar last year. The 25-year-old Australian, who was once ranked 15th in the World Golf Amateur Ranking, however knows he has to keep himself grounded to keep up Australia`s proud record of having wins in Thailand, India and the United States in the past two months.

Edfors, who has triumphed twice on the region`s premier Tour in China and Thailand in 2006 and 2009 respectively, is determined to return to his winning ways having made only two cuts in seven appearances on the European Tour so far this year.

The Swede started well when he birdied the third and fourth holes before picking up further shots on the sixth, eighth and ninth holes.

Edfors` momentum was then halted by the play suspension which forced players off the course for over two hours. The Swede resumed play on the par-four 11th with a bogey and could not extend his advantage for the outright lead after coming home with an inward 36.

Meanwhile, Asian Tour honorary member Y E Yang found himself trailing behind the clubhouse leaders by three shots after an opening 70.

Yang, who earned the distinction of being Asia`s first Major winner when he won the PGA Championship in 2009, will have to tame the elements if he wants to earn another honour of being the first Korean to win Ballantine`s Championship.