Rising Indian golfer Shubhankar Sharma overcame a double bogey to post a three-under 69 in the opening round of the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters, in Doha on Thursday.
The 21-year-old, who is on top of both the European and Asian Tour Order of Merit lists by virtue of two wins in less than two months, had five birdies against one double bogey and was lying tied-38th.
Meanwhile, things did not pan out too well for SSP Chawrasia, who defends his Hero Indian Open title in just over two weeks from now. Chawrasia shot one-over 73 and was lying way down at tied-105th spot and in danger of missing the cut.
On a fine day for scoring, three players, GrÃ©gory Havret, Eddie Pepperell and Aaron Rai, shared the lead, after having an indifferent start to the 2018 season. With low winds helping the scores, they all shot seven-under 65 each at the Doha Golf Club.
They were a shot clear of Italian Edoardo Molinari, Spaniard Alvaro Quiros and German Marcel Schneider.
Starting on the back nine, Shubhankar began with birdie-birdie, but then a double bogey on Par-5 15th played spoilsport. He quickly recovered with back-to-back birdies on 16th and 17th.
One more birdie against no bogeys on his second nine, which was the front side of the course, saw Shubhankar finish at 69.
Chawrasia had bogeys on fourth and 14th and his lone birdie came on the 18th in his 73. He will now need a low second round or else he will have to make an early exit.
England’s Pepperell made birdies on the 10th, 11th, 14th, 16th and 18th with a single blemish on the 13th to share the lead before gains from Bland on the first and second moved him clear.
Havret had a dramatic round making five birdies in six holes and six in eight holes from the sixth. He added one more on 16th for a flawless 65. Pepperell had eight birdies against one bogey.
Englishman Rai, a three-time winner on the Challenge Tour last season, birdied the first, sixth, ninth, 12th and 16th before he made an eagle on the par five last.
Molinari also finished in style to complete a run of seven birdies in 10 holes.