Thangaraja’s 68 powers him to the top in round one

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Thangaraja’s 68 powers him to the top in round oneThangaraja’s 68 powers him to the top in round one
Sri Lankan N Thangaraja fired a four-under-68 to take the lead in round one of the PGTI Players Championship at Noida Golf Course. Delhi’s Gaurav Ghei, Ranjit Singh of Chandigarh and Bangladeshi Md Zamal Hossain Mollah were in tied second place with scores of three-under-69.

Thangaraja, the runner-up at last week’s PGTI event in Sri Lanka, continued his good form in Noida with a solid opening round. The 32-year-old from Colombo hit a couple of poor drives on the first and second holes but recovered well to make birdies on both occasions. He landed his third shot within four feet on the first and sank a 20-footer on the second.

Thangaraja impressed with the putter as he converted 15-feet birdie putts on the fifth and 16th. He did well to find the green in two on the eighth and 14th, both par-5s, to set up birdies. Thangaraja, currently placed 19th on the Rolex Rankings, also had a birdie on the 13th besides a bogey on the seventh and a double-bogey on the 17th. He found the water hazard on the 17th which led to the double-bogey.

“I couldn’t find the fairways on the first two holes but did extremely well to recover on both occasions and salvage birdies. That gave me a good start. I made a few long putts today and carried forward my good putting form from last week. Scoring won’t be easy this week as the fairways are narrow, the course is playing longer and it’s also windy. I can’t afford to hit it left or right in the next few rounds like I did today,” said Thangaraja.

Ranjit Singh chipped-in for eagle on the first and also made four birdies against three bogeys during his first round of 69 to be placed joint second.

Both Gaurav Ghei and Md Zamal Hossain Mollah made four birdies against three bogeys in their respective rounds to share second position along with Ranjit Singh.

Rolex Rankings leader Rashid Khan of Delhi, Noida’s Pradeep Kumar, Mysore golfer Harish K, Mandeo Singh Pathania of Greater Noida and Delhi’s Naman Dawar occupied tied fifth place with scores of 70.

Dipankar Kaushal of Noida chipped-in from 20 yards for eagle on the par-4 second hole during his round of 74 that placed him tied 27th

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