GURGAON, India (AP) — Argentine Daniel Vancsik and Indian caddie-turned-pro Shamim Khan shared Johnnie Walker Classic’s first-round lead Thursday with cards of five-under par 67, one stroke ahead of world No. 5 Australian Adam Scot.
Vancsik, 31, sank five birdies and an eagle — on the par-5 ninth — to make up for his two bogies and finish with the day’s best round, while Khan had a bogey-free round featuring five birdies on the opening day of the $2.5 million event.
“I played very well from tee to the greens, but wasn’t so good on the greens,” said Vancsik, who felt he missed some more birdies due to the non-uniformity in the greens.
“Some of the greens were very fast and the others very slow, depending on the grain. It all depends on where you put the ball and I had many more chances to shoot birdies,” he said.
Vancsik said he was swinging it well and had a nine opening day, but the course at DLF Golf and Country Club, on the outskirts of Indian capital New Delhi, was not easy.
“Making the four-meter putt for an eagle on the ninth made me more confident on the greens,” said Vancsik.
Khan, who is yet to win a title on India’s domestic tour in 13 years as a professional, was delighted with his performance.
“When the birdies began coming, I kept setting new targets for myself,” said the 30-year-old Khan.
“You have to make adjustments on the greens, but the lines aren’t too difficult to read,” he said.
Scott missed a chance of taking the first-round lead by making a double bogey on the par-3 16th to be tied for the third spot on four-under par 68 with 10 other golfers that included compatriots Greg Chalmers, Unho Park and Paul Sheehan.
“I played very well except one poor shot, but I don’t think it really spoilt the round as I was pleased with everything,” said Scott, who asserted that he had figured out the course.
“I missed the fairway a couple of times on the front nine, but managed to get out of trouble and kept the momentum going,” Scott said. “There are just a few holes to be wary of.”
Scott said the double bogey was the result of a lazy swing.
“We had to wait on the tee and maybe I lost my focus a little. I just hit a bad shot, the only one of the day and it went in the water,” he said.
Three-time Major winner and world No. 11 Vijay Singh of Fiji was in a 12-way tie for the 24th after shooting a four-under par 70 that he termed “disappointing.”
“I must have hit five or six loose shots out there, two-under is under par but very disappointing,” Singh said.
“I didn’t putt particularly well and threw away a few shots. I did not face any problems, just caused them myself,” he said. “The greens are very hard to putt on, they are grainy and to read the grains is half the problem.”
Singh’s problems were little compared to Ryder Cup stars Colin Montgomerie of Scotland and Ian Poulter of England.
Montgomerie had four bogies in his two-over par 74, while Poulter returned a card of four-over par 76 that featured three double bogies over four holes.