Ranjit Singh takes lead at DLF Masters golf


New Delhi : Chandigarh's Ranjit Singh carded a six-under-par,66, to take the first round lead at the Rs.6.5 million DLF Masters golf tournament that started in nearby Gurgaon Thursday.

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Ranjit teed off from the tenth and birdied his very first hole. He picked up another birdie on the par-four 12th hole, but dropped a shot on the 13th where he hit his four-iron approach shot to just over the green, chipped to seven feet and missed the putt for par at the DLF Golf and Country Club.

He recovered with birdies on the 14th and 17th holes to make the turn at three-under-par, 33.

Ranjit then birdied the second, fifth and sixth holes, but dropped a stroke on the par-three eight hole where he missed a chip and putt for par from just off the green. A final birdie on the par-five ninth hole saw him card a six-under-par, 66.

"My driving was excellent today and I did not miss any fairways. As a result I played very confidently. However I missed a few more birdie putts on the first, 11th and 18th holes," said Ranjit.

Jyoti Randhawa and Richard Backwell were tied for second place at four-under-par, 68.

He bogeyed the second hole of the day where he did not hit a very good drive and chipped out with a sand-wedge. He then chipped to 15-feet and two-putted for a bogey.

Randhawa recovered with a birdie on the par-three third, holing a 15-footer for birdie but dropped a stroke on the fourth after he found his ball plugged in the right bunker and chipped out to eight feet but missed the putt.

However, he made no errors thereafter and birdied the fifth, seventh, 10th, 17th and 18th holes to card a four-under-par, 68.

"The greens are fast and I am just getting used to them as I did not play a practice round yesterday. I missed a few putts today but am happy to have shot an under-par round," said Randhawa.

Richard Backwell started the day with a birdie on the first, but bogeyed the second after he hit his ball into the trees guarding the right side of the fairway and had to chip out with his second.

He dropped another shot on the fifth, once again hitting his ball into the right rough, but a birdie on the ninth saw him make the turn at level-par for the day.

The Australian then birdied he 15th and 17th holes, and an eagle on the last resulted in a four-under-par, 68.

Meanwhile, Gaurav Ghei, who played his first round here in two years, shot a level-par 72 and is tied alongside Randhir Ghotra, Shamim Khan, M. Dharma, Gurbaaz Mann and Shiv Kapur.

"The trees have grown and the course has changed quite a bit since I last played here. I think a player has to hit good shots to shoot a low score here," said Ghei, who three-putted the fourth and fifth holes Thursday.

"I was just a bit rusty today as I have spent the last few weeks recuperating from a bad back. However, my game will get sharper as the tournament progresses," said Shiv. He added that, "the course is playing tough and it was quite windy today."

Being played on the basis of the world-renowned AT&T Pebble-Beach Pro-Am and the Dunhill Links Championship, the 'DLF Masters' will see 120 professionals start the tournament.

However, the top-50 professionals and ties, who make the cut after 36-holes will each play with an amateur partner over the weekend. The amateur field will comprise of the crème de la crème of the country's leading corporate golfers.

While the winning professional score will be calculated according to the stroke-play format, there will also be exciting team prizes on offer.

Scores (after 18-holes):

66 Ranjit Singh; 68 Jyoti Randhawa, Richard Backwell; 69 C. Muniyappa, Gaurav Diwan; 70 Amardip Sinh Malik, Mukesh Kumar, D.S. Kullar, Himmat Rai, Vijay Kumar; 71 MD Salim, Naman Dawar, Harendra Gupta, S.S.P. Chowrasia, Digvijay Singh; 72 Randhir Ghotra, Gaurav Ghei, Shamim Khan, M. Dharma, Gurbaaz Mann, Shiv Kapur