Kumar shoots 73 in nervous card fight in Dubai

Thu 18 Dec 2014

Kumar shoots 73 in nervous card fight in Dubai

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Dubai, December 18: India’s Chiragh Kumar, the man on the Order of Merit bubble, carded a one-over-par 73 in the first round of the inaugural Dubai Open on Thursday, ensuring a nervous fight for his Asian Tour card.
The 31-year-old Kumar, 60th on the Merit list, ended the day right on the cut mark in tied 56th position at the magnificent Els Club Dubai and knows he must make improvements to ensure his fight for Tour survival prolongs till the weekend.
Thai youngster Rattanon Wannasrichan, 59th on the rankings, stumbled to a 75 while countryman Namchoak Tantipokhakul, in 61st position, battled to a 71 for equal 24th place after the opening round of the final tournament of the 2014 Asian Tour season.
Lam Chih Bing of Singapore Lam Chih Bing of Singapore
With the likes of Singaporean Lam Chih Bing, who lies in 80th place on the Merit list, shooting an opening 67 for joint second position, Kumar and those around the top-60 mark knows there will be plenty to play for over the next few days.
Kumar said he was only focusing on his own game.  “I’m right on the number, obviously I like to get a decent week and finish in the top-60. Let’s see how it goes. I’m just playing my own game. You can’t look at the others and play that way. If the guys behind you play better and push you out of the top-60, well done to them.
“I won’t be able to help that. I’m just going to concentrate and play my game. I’m not going to be too bothered with the way I played. Hopefully tomorrow will be better,” said the Indian.
He was disappointed to finish over par for the day in gusty conditions. He turned in 35 but dropped two bogeys coming home. “It was windy, especially in the afternoon. I was playing alright. I was one under through nine but made a couple of mistakes on the back nine and couldn’t get any birdies in. But it’s okay. I played well and I’m not totally dissatisfied. A couple of saved shots would have been nicer,” said Kumar.
Lam, who finished second in Qualifying School earlier this year to regain his playing rights, could well go back to School unless he produces a fourth place finish or better this week in Dubai.
However, the seasoned campaigner is not overly concerned after reaping the rewards of a hot putter which saw him sink seven birdies against two bogeys.
“Yeah, it's nice to be making putts. It's been a while,” said Lam.  “I hit the ball reasonably well, not great, but I made a lot of good putts.
“Obviously after a round like today you've got to feel pretty good about your game. But it's three more days. Hopefully there will be a few more rounds, same kind of scores.”
With his family joining him in Dubai over the weekend for a holiday, Lam said that he is not going to think too much of the Order of Merit battle after a season which has seen him miss 10 cuts on the Asian Tour with not a single top-10.
“I've actually been playing so bad I haven't been looking at the Order of Merit for the past couple of months. I think it's the first time in Dubai, seems like I really like this place.  My family is coming on Saturday, so I'm pretty much on holiday mode, no matter how it goes.  If I play good this week, it'll be a bonus,” he said.
 
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