Sandhu leads #PanasonicOpenIndia

New Delhi, Nov 2: In-form Ajeetesh Sandhu of India set the early pace by signing for an opening eight-under-par 64 at the Panasonic Open India which teed off at the Delhi Golf Club on Thursday.

Sandhu, who earned his breakthrough in Chinese Taipei last month, continued his rich vein of form with an encouraging start at the US$400,000 event where he marked his card with seven birdies, one eagle and one bogey on the par-three four.

Shiv Kapur of India

Shiv Kapur of India

Compatriot Shiv Kapur, who ended a 12-year winless streak in Chinese Taipei earlier this year, showed his class in front of the home crowd with a flawless 65 that placed him in outright second place.

Aman Raj also enjoyed a promising start with a 66 that placed him just two shots back of Sandhu alongside compatriot Shamim Khan.

The 22-year-old holds a distinguished amateur record and will be hoping to replicate that form now that he has joined the play-for-play ranks last year.

Thailand’s Thaworn Wiratchant showed he can still match up against his younger rivals as he continues his chase for this 19th Asian Tour win even as he approaches his 51st birthday next month.

The veteran returned with a 67 that has put him tied for fifth place with India’s S.S.P. Chawrasia.

The Panasonic Open India is sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) and is the second leg of the Panasonic Swing, which is an aggregate points race that spans five events – in Thailand, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Japan.

Did you know?

  • Ajeetesh Sandhu missed the mark at the Asian Tour Qualifying School earlier in January and had to rely on his country exemption.
  • He made two cuts in four starts, including a third-place result at the TAKE Solutions Masters in August, prior to his breakthrough in Chinese Taipei last month.
  • Shiv Kapur’s first Asian Tour title came in his rookie season in December, 2005. He was also named the Asian Tour Rookie of the Year in that same season.
  • In September last year, Kapur went for a liver surgery and returned in mid-December after resting for three months.
  • Shamim Khan is currently leading the Order of Merit on the PGTI and he is also leading the all-time career earnings money list.
  • Aman Raj missed the cuts by two and one shots respectively in Macao and Indonesia in his last starts on the Asian Tour.
  • Raj is currently ranked seventh on the PGTI Order of Merit and has enjoyed two runner-up finishes on the domestic circuit this year.
  • Thaworn is a two-time Asian Tour Order of Merit winner and he has been victorious on the Delhi Golf Club too. The Thai won India’s national open at the Delhi Golf Club in 2005.
Shamin Khan of India

Shamin Khan of India

Players’ Quotes

“Winning as an amateur and winning as a professional are two different things. I just have to keep calm and keep doing the right things.”- Aman Raj

Ajeetesh Sandhu (Ind) First round 64 (-8)

I feel really good to be able to shoot such a low score especially on a challenging golf course like this, which can be really tough. I played really well right from the start. I made the only bogey on the third hole. It was a tough tee shot which went into the rough and I didn’t have a shot from there. So I had to lay out on the green where I hit it to about 15 feet where I missed the putt. It’s going to be more of the same for tomorrow. I’m playing well and I’ll take every shots as it comes. It’s always important for me to play well at home as I’ve a lot of supporters this week and it’ll be nice to reward them with something special.

Shiv Kapur (Ind) First Round 65 (-7)

If you had given that to me at the start of the day, I would have snapped your hand off! I’ll take 65 any day of the week. That (the par at 14th) was pretty pivotal during the round. I was in between clubs at the 14th and I picked the wrong one. I was trying to do too much with that shot. I played the hole too many times to know that it is not the hole to attack. I made a poor swing and I was lucky to make a par there. To be able to finish with three birdies is a pretty good feeling. There is always pressure. There is even more pressure this week, as Delhi Golf Club is my home club. I’m not going to hide the fact that I’m really eager to win. Perhaps you can call it reverse psychology. I’m playing as though I’m playing with my friends. So, I’m looking to hit more drivers and be more aggressive. Basically, I’m looking to have some fun out there. A good win has eluded me for many years, so maybe a different approach will help. The field is really good. I carded a 65 and I’m not leading; this shows the depth of the field. I’ll push the pedal to the metal and keep going.

Shamim Khan (Ind), First round 66 (-6)

It’s a terrific start at my home course. The run of four birdies at the start (started from 10th) set up the round nicely for me. My hitting was top-class as I found 12 out of the 14 fairways today. I generally use the driver on three holes at the DGC but today I used it on only one hole (1st). I made one subtle change to my game today. When I’m not using a driver at DGC, I generally tee off with the 3-wood off the turf. But today I used my 3-wood with a tee and that gave me more distance, which made a huge difference to my score. My best birdie of the day came on the 11th where I hit my second shot, a rescue, from 200 yards out from a difficult position and landed it within 20 feet. I converted that 20-footer for birdie. I know the DGC course at the back of my hand, but still cannot take it for granted. One mistake here and you can be in deep trouble.

Aman Raj of India

Aman Raj of India

Aman Raj (Ind) First round 66 (-6)

I played good golf and I’m happy with the putts falling in. I got a couple of clutch putt birdies. I made a stupid mistake on the 12th hole but I’m hitting the fairways here and that’s crucial here. I’ve won two events at Delhi Golf Club as an amateur in 2014. But winning as an amateur and winning as a professional are two different things. I just have to keep calm and keep doing the right things.




Thaworn Wiratchant (Tha) First round 67 (-5)

I hit a bad shot on my closing hole and that was the only mistake I made all day. Otherwise I played and would have liked to end off with a bogey-free round. But it’s okay. I’m still fit and strong and can give these younger boys a run for their money. My experience on the golf course is invaluable.

Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand

Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand

Leading scores after round 1 of the Panasonic Open India 2017 being played at the par 72, 6935 Yards Delhi GC course (am – denotes amateur):

64 – Ajeetesh SANDHU (IND).

65 – Shiv KAPUR (IND).

66 – Shamim KHAN (IND), Aman RAJ (IND).


68 – Chiragh KUMAR (IND), Scott BARR (AUS), Steve LEWTON (ENG), Amardip MALIK (IND), Akshay SHARMA (IND), Natipong SRITHONG (THA), Divyanshu BAJAJ (IND).

69 – Sudhir SHARMA (IND), Paul PETERSON (USA), Shubhankar SHARMA (IND), Honey BAISOYA (IND), Pawan KUMAR (IND), Zamal Hossain MOLLAH (BAN), Prom MEESAWAT (THA), Brett MUNSON (USA), Itthipat BURANATANYARAT (THA).

70 – Khalin JOSHI (IND), R. MURTHY (IND), R. Mari MUTU (IND), Om Prakash CHOUHAN (IND), Ranjit SINGH (IND), Gaganjeet BHULLAR (IND), M DHARMA (IND), Himmat RAI (IND).

71 – MD. SANJU (IND), Gaurav GHEI (IND), Arnond VONGVANIJ (THA), Rashid KHAN (IND), Veer AHLAWAT (IND), Nicolas PAEZ (USA), Deepinder KULLAR (IND), Jyoti RANDHAWA (IND), Sujjan SINGH (IND), Karandeep KOCHHAR (IND).

72 – Settee PRAKONGVECH (THA), Manu GANDAS (IND), Shankar DAS (IND), Manav JAINI (IND), Udayan MANE (IND), Rahul BAJAJ (IND), Feroz Singh GAREWAL (IND), Sachin BAISOYA (IND), Jason KNUTZON (USA), Mukesh KUMAR (IND), Digvijay SINGH (IND), Sihwan KIM (USA).


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