The five-under 67 was a good solid start, though I would have been happier if I had saved that double on the 16th (which was my seventh hole), or at least managed to hole that 10-foot bogey putt. Still I will take a 67 for Thursday.
The Indians, as usual, have begun well as Sanjay Kumar also shot 67 while Anirban Lahiri, young Honey Baisoya and Vikrant Chopra carded 68 each and Rahil Gangjee shot 69. I am sure there’s more to come from the home boys.
The European Tour’s Daniel Im of Korea has taken the lead at 65 and Prom Meesawat, my playing partner shot 66. Meesawat was joined by the Spanish pair, Jorge Campillo and Nacho Elvira, who also had 66s.
A lot of people keep asking me about my last two second place finishes at the Hero Indian Open in 2013 and 2015, but the fact is I myself don’t think too much about them. Sure, it would have been nice to win, but that’s the way this game goes.
To begin, I did not take a driver in my bag and except for the 16th, where I drove into the left bushes, from where I did get a chance to escape with a bogey but I missed an up-and-down from 10-12 feet and ended with a double bogey.
It was a good start to the tournament. Now, it’s important to build on that for the next three days. Of course, it will always be nice to have a couple of more birdies, but you can’t have them all.
As for today’s game, my putting was good and I made some good recoveries. I also had a chip-in on the second hole from just over then green from 15-18 feet. I needed just 24 putts today, so that was quite encouraging and I found 10 fairways and 12 greens in regulation. And the two times I went into the bunker I still managed to save par.
My driving overall was decent except on the 16th when I pulled to the left and went into the bushes. I tried to chip out but couldn’t make the up and down from just 10-12 feet.
The scores have been pretty good in the morning and if the weather stays as perfect as it was, we could see a sea of red scores. I started from the tenth and seemed to be going great with three birdies in a row from 12th to 14th.
On 12th I had a 15-footer but hit it close on next two but then came the double bogey. I put that out of my mind and on 18th I holed a 16-footer.
Coming back, I knocked in a 15-footer on first and I chipped in from just over the green around 18 feet from the hole on the second. I had a couple of chances more, but then I had my last birdie on par-5 eighth and the birdie putt stopped on the lip on the ninth.
My playing partner, Prom Meesaswat had a superb day, too, with five birdies in six holes from 13th to 18th. He was in great form and it was fun playing with him.