Pune: Shankar Das of Kolkata posted a gallant five-under-67 in difficult weather conditions to grab the first round lead at the PGTI Players Championship being played here on Tuesday.
Md Zamal Hossain Mollah of Bangladesh is two strokes off the lead in second place.
The scoring conditions were tough as the day witnessed light rain accompanied by a gentle breeze. As a result it turned out to be a high-scoring day.
Shankar produced six birdies against a lone bogey in his opening round of 67.
The three-time winner on the PGTI started his tournament with a birdie on the 10th, his first hole of the day. He fired his approach shot from 145 yards within a foot of the hole on the 10th. The 30-year-old Shankar then sank a seven-footer for birdie on the 16th. His lone bogey came on the 17th where he three-putted.
Shankar knocked down four birdies on his second nine when the playing conditions were the toughest. He converted an eight feet putt for birdie on the third and followed that up with a brilliant chip from the edge to set up a birdie on the fourth.
Shankar went on to pick up two more birdies on the fifth and ninth after landing his approach shots within six feet on both occasions.
"My iron-play was excellent today. I hit a splendid second shot with the nine-iron on the 10th and also produced an accurate five-iron shot on the fifth. The driving was good, particularly on the fourth which I consider one of the tougher holes on this course due to its layout," said Shankar, who had three birdies on the trot from the third through the fifth.
"The chipping set up some opportunities for me which I converted by making the putts. I adapted well to the wet conditions by keeping my hands dry and hitting low shots."
Bangalore`s Anirban Lahiri, one of the pre-tournament favourites, shot a two-under-70, to be tied third along with fellow Bangalore golfer Chikkarangappa S, Delhi golfers Rashid Khan, Vinod Kumar, Himmat Singh Rai, Honey Baisoya, Siddharth Semwal, as well as Sri Lankans Mithun Perera and N Thangaraja.
Saurabh Bhaduri is the highest-placed Pune golfer in tied 12th at one-under-71 along with five others including Shamim Khan and Digvijay Singh.
Defending champion Om Prakash Chouhan is placed tied 78th after a round of five-over-77.
Sujjan Singh of Chandigarh, who won the 2011 edition of the PGTI Players Championship, withdrew due to a wrist injury.