Rashid grabs lead at Sri Lanka Ports Authority Open

Colombo: India`s Rashid Khan returned a card of six-under-65 to take the sole lead on the opening day of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority Open played at the Royal Colombo Golf Club, here today.

Rashid, who won the PGTI event at the Classic Golf Resort in Delhi last week, seemed to have carried his good form to Colombo.

"The greens on this course are not easy to negotiate. One needs to adjust to the green speed quickly in order to perform well here. I`m feeling good and lucky to have this kind of start. My putting was good and having pocketed five birdies at the turn was a great advantage," said the 22-year-old Rashid.

Rashid started the tournament with five birdies in a row from the 10th through the 14th. He sank another birdie on 16th but bogeyed the 17th to be five-under at the turn.

He dropped a shot on the fourth but birdied the sixth and seventh to finish his round with a score of six-under-65.

Over 100 professional golfers, all looking for a share of the prize purse of USD 70,000 teed off along with six amateur golfers from Sri Lanka.

Divyanshu Bajaj of Kolkata trails Rashid by one stroke.

Divyanshu, playing for the first time at Royal Colombo Golf Club, started his round with a bogey on the first but recovered immediately thanks to a birdie on the second. He went on to record an eagle on the sixth and three more birdies to end the day at five-under-66.

"Playing at this golf course for the first time and not having a practice round was difficult, but I walked few holes yesterday and got a feel of the course. The main idea was to keep the ball on the fairways and I was lucky to do so. Greens were playing a little slow due to the heavy rain yesterday and one had to take that into account today," said Bajaj.

Angad Cheema of Panchkula and Bangalore`s M Dharma were tied for third place at four-under-67. While Dharma had seven birdies and three bogeys in his first round, Cheema made six birdies against two bogeys.

Local hero and winner of the first ever professional golf tournament in Sri Lanka last year, Mithun Perera finished his round at two-under-69.