Wednesday, February 22, 2012


New Delhi, February 22: India’s Anirban Lahiri lifted the home spirits when he posted a sparkling seven-under-par 65 to take the first-round lead at the SAIL-SBI Open today.
Banchory's James Byrne got back on track with a par-matching round of 72 to be sharing 45th place with Englishman Stephen Lewton.
Ross Bain had a 73 for T65 and Guy Woodman a 77 for T121
Canada’s Ron Harvey Jnr made the most of his playing opportunity on the Asian Tour by carding a 66 to take second place while Sweden’s Rikard Karlberg renewed his love affair with India by signing for a 67 to take third place at the Delhi Golf Club.
Australia’s Scott Hend, who is seeking his second Asian Tour win, returned with a 68 to take a share of fourth place alongside four Indians at the US$300,000 full field Asian Tour event.
Lahiri was clearly delighted with his opening performance as he used to admit finding it difficult to tame the greens at the Delhi Golf Club.
However, since lifting his maiden title at the venerable golf course last year and with the monkey off his back, the Indian believes that he can go on and contend for the title again.
“I’ve been getting more and more comfortable at Delhi Golf Club and when I come here, I feel positive now as compared to this whole aura of negativity that I’ve always attached to earlier. I feel that I’m in better control of my game plan and I’m much assured of what to hit off the tee,” said Lahiri.
Lahiri, who also led by one at the similar stage last year, is confident that he can continue to put up another assured performance as the week goes on.
“I’m happy with the way I’ve played today. I hit it really solid. I missed a couple of greens today but I managed to get up and down. I’m just happy that I played well today and I hope that I can just come out tomorrow and play another solid round of golf,” said Lahiri.
Meanwhile Harvey, who played his way into the region’s elite circuit by finishing in tied-16th at Qualifying School last month, is excited that his rookie season is getting off to a good start.
“This is an Asian Tour event and I want to carry that same attitude of doing well every week. I could have had a good weekend in Myanmar as I was leading through 27 holes but fell out of contention. However, I took a lot of positive out of that and I’m glad it ‘s paying off today,” said the 28-year-old, who had earlier taken the morning round lead.
Playing at the Delhi Golf Club for the first time, the Canadian was pleased that he was able to execute a successful game plan.
“I played really conservative today and it’s a lot easier when you hit onto the fairways all-day. I used lots of three and four-irons and only hit two or three-woods and I guess that made it seemed a lot easier,” said Harvey.
Karlberg returned to the scene of his maiden triumph ready to repeat his winning performances which had led to him winning twice at the Delhi Golf Club in 2010.
“There’s something about India that makes me play well here. It’s just my tempo which I always try to maintain throughout the round. I’m very composed especially when I play here at Delhi Golf Club,” said Karlberg, a two-time Asian Tour winner.
“I feel really relaxed and happy when I get to play here. Maybe that explains why I play so well in India,” added the 2010 Asian Tour Rookie of the Year.
Hend posted his best round score at the Delhi Golf Club but felt that he could have signed for an even better score if not for a wrong club selection and a miscommunication letdown by his caddy.
“I let a really good round get away by two really stupid mistakes but it’s always good to shoot under-par here in Delhi Golf Club and 68 is the best score I’ve ever shot here,” said the Australian.
“At the 13th, I took a club off the tee which I’ve never really used before. I tried to hit a three-wood when I usually used a driver. I pulled it into the trees and I made a double-bogey and then on the last hole, I had a bit of miscommunication with my caddy and I three-putted from about 25 feet,” lamented Hend.
The SAIL-SBI Open is the second of the four events scheduled to be played in India on the Asian Tour this season.
Par 72. Yardage 6,935
65 Anirban LAHIRI (IND).
66 Ron HARVEY Jnr (CAN).
67 Rikard KARLBERG (SWE).
68 Mohd ISLAM (IND), Scott HEND (AUS), Mukesh KUMAR (IND), Gaganjeet BHULLAR (IND), Manav JAINI (IND).
70 Roop SINGH (IND), Vinod KUMAR (IND), Zaw MOE (MYN), Shiv KAPUR (IND), Vivek Bhandari (IND), Harmeet KAHLON (IND), Panuwat MUENLEK (THA), Abhinav LOHAN (IND), Ranjit SINGH (IND), Wade ORMSBY (AUS), Chapchai NIRAT (THA), Ben FOX (USA), Quincy QUEK (SIN), Randhir GHOTRA (IND), HSU Chia (TPE).
71 Shamim KHAN (IND), Elmer SALVADOR (PHI), Lindsay RENOLDS (CAN), Gaurav GHEI (IND), Scott BARR (AUS), Unho PARK (AUS), Feroz ALI (IND), Atthaphon PRATHUMMANEE (THA), Thitiphun CHUAYPRAKONG (THA), Sanju MD. (IND), Sattaya SUPUPRAMAI (THA), Sanjay KUMAR (IND), Paul DONAHOO (AUS), Ajeetesh SANDHU (IND), Mithun PERERA (LKA), Daisuke KATAOKA (JPN), Berry HENSON (USA), Chawinroj RUNGSRICHAI (THA), Jaakko MAKITALO (FIN).
72 James Byrne (Scotland, Stephen Lewton (England) (T45).
73 Ross Bain (Scotland) (T64).
77 Guy Woodman (England) (T121).



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