Randhawa tied 17th at Hong Kong Open, slow start by Bhullar

Hong Kong: Indian golfer Jyoti Randhawa opened strongly with a two-under 68 to be placed at tied 17th after the first round of UBS Hong Kong Open at the Hong Kong Golf club on Thursday.

Randhawa dropped just one bogey against three birdies to emerge as the best Indian and was four shots behind Asian Tour rookie, Javi Colomo of Spain, who outshone more illustrious names with a flawless six-under 64 to take the first round clubhouse lead.

Three players, including India`s Himmat Rai were yet to complete their round. They will resume play tomorrow.

Shiv Kapur was tied 27th at one-under 69 which included a bogey on the par-4 17th. Himmat was even par with one more hole to play, while the in-form Gaganjeet Bhullar was off to a modest start with a one-over 71 in tied 54th place. He had three birdies and four bogeys.

Things did not work out too well for SSP Chowrasia (76), Digvijay Singh and Chiragh Kumar, both of whom shot 80 each and were tied 139th.

While Colomo led the field, ltaly`s Matteo Manassero, winner in Singapore last week carded 67 and World No. 1 Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland shot 73.

Miguel Angel Jimenez, twenty years older than Colomo, showed that old is gold when he rolled back the years to take a share of second place with Australia`s Andrew Dodt, a former winner at Avantha Masters, with his opening 65.

Trailing a further shot back was China`s most decorated player, Zhang Lian-wei who could have returned with a lower score had he not carded a double-bogey six on his finishing par-four 10th.

Zhang, 47, signed for a 66 to take equal fourth place alongside Asian Tour honorary member YE Yang of Korea, Ryder Cup Captain Jos? Mara Olazbal of Spain, Italy`s Gagli Lorenzo and Sweden`s Fredrik Andersson Hed at the Hong Kong Golf Club.

Randhawa parred his first eight holes and then found a birdie on the ninth. His lone bogey came on the 11th and he fired birdies on 13th and 17th.

Bhullar playing from the 11th the Hong Kong Club course starts the back nine from 11th bogeyed 16th and birdied the 18th. On the front stretch of the course, he birdied second and third and bogeyed three times.

Colomo, who has enjoyed three top-10 finishes on the Asian Tour this season, opened his campaign with pars on his first eight holes.

The 28-year-old`s round came alive when he blazed the course with six birdies in eight holes in his homeward run.

"I was very relaxed after the first nine holes, and after that, I took all my birdie opportunities. It helped that I had luck on my side on the greens as well," said Colomo.


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