Kolkata: Vijay Kumar and Raju Ali Mollah shot identical scores of six under 66 to take the joint lead after round one of the PGTI Players Championship here on Wednesday.
Local favourite SSP Chowrasia was placed third with a five under 67 at the Royal Calcutta Golf Club.
Vijay garnered seven birdies and a lone bogey in his opening round of 66. He coupled his exceptional iron-play with some consistent putting.
The 42-year-old veteran sank birdie putts within a range of seven to 10 feet on the second, third, sixth, 12th, 17th and 18th.
The Lucknow-based professional chipped it to within a few inches for a birdie on the 15th. He only stumbled on the 11th where a missed putt from three feet resulted in a bogey.
Thirty-three-year-old Raju Ali of Kolkata, who won his first professional title on the Aircel PGTI last year, fired a bogey-free 66 at his home course to hold the joint lead along with Vijay.
Chowrasia made seven birdies against two bogeys in his solid opening round of 67. He used the pitching wedge to great effect to set up birdies on the sixth, ninth and 10th.
The highlight of his round was the 30 feet birdie putt on the 10th.
Roop Singh of Chandigarh, Sri Lankan Mithun Perera, Vivek Bhandari of Delhi and Lucknow`s Sanjay Kumar share fourth place at four under 68.
Gaganjeet Bhullar and Harmeet Kahlon are a further stroke behind in tied eighth position.
Anirban Lahiri shot a two under 70 to be placed tied 10th.