England’s James Morrison and Scotland’s Richie Ramsay shot 5-under 66s to share the first-round lead in the Indian Open on Thursday.
On a day which saw a string of good performances despite a steady wind, seven players were just one stroke behind the leaders in the Asian Tour event.
The group comprised of Thai pair Chapchai Nirat and Panuphol Pittayarat, Finland’s Kalle Samooja and Jaakko Makitalo, India’s Shiv Kapur, Spain’s Javi Colomo and Myanmar’s Zaw Moe.
Morrison, a European Tour winner two years ago at the Madeira Islands Open in Portugal, hit a purple patch when he birdied the fourth and sixth holes and sunk a 30-foot putt for an eagle on the par-five fifth.
“I kept out of the rough and found most of the fairways,” Morrison said. “The course was brilliant and I like this kind of an old-style course, which is tree-lined and challenging. It was a good day but there was also a tricky crosswind as the round progressed.”
Ramsay, who won the European Masters at Crons-Montana in Switzerland last month, had an eagle and a bogey in his first nine before firing four birdies on the back nine.
“I kept it going on the front nine and played lovely on the back,” Ramsay said. “I hit it nicely on the last few holes but couldn’t make my putts. As long as you are hitting fairways, there are a lot of chances out there. There was a little bit of breeze and crosswinds which made the fairways a lot narrower but the course is playing great.”
Kapur, who has three top-10 finishes on the tour this season, made up for an early bogey with five birdies.
“If you told me I would shoot a 67 at the start of the day in this breeze, I would have taken it. The way I struck it, I gave myself a lot of chances,” Kapur said.
Gaganjeet Bhullar, who won the Macau Open last week, also kept up the local interest in a group of four at 68.
“It was a very consistent round. Nothing spectacular, but a good and solid day in the office,” Bhullar said. “I missed a few birdies out there, especially on the 17th and 18th. But then I saved great pars on fourth and 16th, so it all levels out.”
Taiwan’s Hsu Chia-jen posted a 1-under 70, while Hung Chien-yao was two shots behind after a 72. Their compatriots Chiang Chen-chih, Huang Tao and Lu Tze-shyan all carded 74.
Additional reporting by Staff writer