Noida, December 17, 2008: Delhi’s Shamim Khan shot an exceptional seven under 65 at Noida Golf Course to race away into the lead in round one of the Professional Golf Tour of India’s ONGC Masters 2008. Shamim, the winner of PGTI’s last event in Jamshedpur, continued his good form as he reeled in eight birdies against one bogey on Thursday. Raju Ali Mollah and Vinod Kumar are tied for second with identical rounds of five under 67.
Shamim was six under at the turn as he knocked down birdies on the first, second, fourth, sixth, seventh and eighth. On the sixth, seventh and eighth he landed his approach shots within 2 feet of the pin. Khan then began the back nine with a bogey on the 10th. Two more birdies on the 14th and 17th helped him close the day at seven under.
"I started well today and had the momentum going from the very first hole. The birdies on the first two holes helped me grow in confidence and I then hit the ball really close on the sixth, seventh and eighth to earn three consecutive birdies. My hitting on the front nine was excellent. I also made a couple of very good putts from 15 feet on the second and 14th," said Shamim, who is currently in fourth position on the PGTI Order of Merit.
He added, "It’s all about being accurate off the tee at this golf course since the fairways are narrow."
Kolkata’s Raju Ali Mollah carded five under 67 to be tied second. Raju, a 10th tee starter, fired an eagle on the 14th, made birdies on the 13th, second, fourth, sixth, eighth and dropped bogeys on the 11th and third to be placed two strokes off the lead.
Mollah said, "My short game and putting was much better than my hitting today. I had a crucial eagle on the 14th where I hit my tee shot into the fairway bunker and then recovered really well by hitting the second shot with a four iron within 10 feet of the pin."
Delhi golfer Vinod Kumar also returned 67 to join Mollah in tied second. Kumar birdied the second, fourth, sixth, seventh, 12th, 14th, 15th and bogeyed the 10th and 16th.
Harendra Gupta’s four under 68 placed him tied fourth while Rahul Ganapathy was tied ninth at one under 71.
Asian Tour regular Rahil Gangjee turned in one over 73 to be tied 32nd. PGTI Order of Merit leader Mukesh Kumar lies tied 60th, having fired three over 75.