Little-known Shahi vaults into lead

Toran Bikram Shahi.png.crop_display.jpg

Little-known Toran Bikram Shahi of Nepal sank four birdies on his back nine to take the lead on the opening day of the DLF Masters golf tournament here on Thursday.

Shahi, an afternoon starter, was four-under 68 after play was stopped due to fading light, thanks to his six birdies, including the 18th against two bogeys to zoom to the lead toppling many including defending champion Himmat Singh Rai (69). Six golfers were yet to complete their first rounds when play was halted.

Himmat was joined by Kolkata’s S.S.P. Chowrasia and Randhir Singh Ghotra of Chandigarh in second place with three-under 69.

Earlier in the morning, Himmat made a solid start in foggy conditions at his home course. The 24-year-old birdied the second, seventh and ninth to make the turn at three-under. He added another birdie on the 10th before dropping his first shot of the day on the 12th. The Delhi pro recovered with a birdie putt on the 14th, but missed a shot on the 16th.

Meanwhile, Chowrasia recovered from double bogey start with an eagle on the sixth and four more birdies to open up with a brilliant round.

Bilt Open winner Shamim Khan (71) shared sixth place with 10 others including Digvijay Singh, while Jyoti Randhawa could not find his rhythm ending the day at one-over 73.

Leading scores: 68: Toran Bikram Shahi; 69: Himmat Singh Rai, SSP Chowrasia, Randhir Singh Ghotra; 70: Ajeetesh Sandhu.

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