Weather plays havoc on day 1

10-03-2017
DH

The drizzle and “threat of lightening” forced a stoppage of 90 minutes in the afternoon, leaving 66 players out of 144 with unfinished opening rounds. England’s David Horsey played flawless 15 holes, that included five birdies, to head the leaderboard when the play was suspended due to poor light.

Horsey was a shot clear of young Italian Matteo Manassero, who had held the clubhouse lead with 68. Manassero had begun with a double-bogey and after sinking a birdie on the 13th gave it back on the next. He, however, ended with a flourish on 17th and 18th holes, before spinning back to pick successive shots on the second, third and fourth holes and then on the eighth to break away from the field.

Snapping on Italian’s heels were the trio of Eddie Pepperell, Carlos Pigem and Gregory Havret who were tied third at 68.

Among those who would turn up on Friday morning for their first rounds, include defending champion SSP Chawrasia and Australian Scott Hend, who after 15 holes were tied 17th at 71. Chirag Kumar, after 11 holes, was also tied 17th.

“I didn’t drop any shots on the front-nine but missed at least four birdie opportunities from close range,” said Chawrasia who played at par on first 11 holes. He then sunk birdies at 12th and 15th holes before dropping one on 14th.

The Gary Player designed course lived upto its reputation with just eight players from the morning start getting under par. Indians, too, faced the brunt of it. Shubhankar Sharma, Rahil Gangjee and amateur Rigel Fernandes shot scores of 72 to be the highest-placed among the Indians.

Former champion Anirban Lahiri, who was the part of the morning batch, had a disappointing run. The 29-year-old had four bogeys, two double bogeys, besides his five birdies to compose a four-over to be at tied 97.

“I was playing well at the start but a couple of times just waiting on hitting my shot threw me off my rhythm. After the double bogey on 18th, I just couldn’t find my rhythm. But I feel I’ve got enough in me to fight back,” said Lahiri.

The highest ranked player in the field Rafa Cabrera Bello scored 76 to be tied 49th that included Shiv Kapur, Gaurav Pratap Singh Rashid Khan and Feroz Ali.

Gaganjeet Bhullar (74), Arjun Atwal (74), Anirban Lahiri (76) and Jeev Milkha Singh (85) were among prominent Indians to finish the rounds.

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