India’s Jyoti Randhawa turned the clock back with a flawless eight-under 64 that gave him a share of lead in the first round of the USD 1 million Resorts World Manila Masters golf tournament, here on Thursday.
The 44-year-old Randhawa, part of the Indian trio alongside Jeev Milkha Singh and Arjun Atwal and referred to as the ‘Big Three’, was in a five-way lead with Chinese Taipei’s Lin Wen-tang, Thailand’s Danthai Boonma and Rattanon Wannasrichan and Johannes Veerman of the US at the Manila Southwoods Golf and Country Club.
Randhawa, Asia’s number one in 2002, showed why he is still highly regarded as one of the region’s top players. He sank five birdies in first seven holes for a 31 and then added three more on holes 12, 15 and 18 in his back-nine.
“There was no wind today so it is fairly easy on this golf course when there’s no wind. This golf course seems to set itself up nicely for my style of play so that helps a bit,” said Randhawa.
“But having said that, you still have to play good golf to do well and I did play some good golf today,” said Randhawa, who has won eight Asian Tour titles, but none since 2009 Thailand Open.
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It was a fine day for the Indians, as Chiragh Kumar (67) was tied 18th, Jeev Milkha Singh, SSP Chawrasia and S Chikkarangappa with 68 each were tied 26th and Gaganjeet Bhullar and Shubhankar Sharma with 69 each were tied 39th. Daniel Chopra (69) was also tied 39th.
Other Indians in the field are Shiv Kapur (70), Khalin Joshi (71), Rashid Khan (75) and Himmat Rai (76).
Co-leader Lin, meanwhile, had a lucky eagle on his closing 18th hole to thank for soaring him to a share of the lead in the morning. The 42-year-old surged quickly ahead with four birdies in his opening five holes. He gained further advantage on holes 12, 15 and 16. He dropped a shot on the par-three 17 but recovered with an eagle.