We all talk about home advantage when a tournament like the Hero Honda Indian Open takes place here.
With so many leading Indian players and each of them having played a lot of golf at the Delhi Golf Club, there is always this expectation that one of the Indians will be a favourite to begin with.
While that does hold true to a certain extent, in golf you also need a bit of luck, which we call the rub of the green. You can play well, as Shiv Kapur did, but still come back with a score that is good but not as good as it should have been. Again, some other players may feel they didn't have their game in place, but still hang in with a score that gives them a chance for later rounds, as it happened in the case of Arjun Atwal, who shot a 73.
The Koreans have always done well, but they have not come to India too often. This time seems different. We have a Korean leader at the end of the first round. On a day, when bogey-free cards were a rarity, Kim Hyung-sung had one with five birdies to boot for a 67. That put him one clear of a big group of five players that includes Sanjay Kumar.
India have a prominent presence on the leaderboard with Sanjay in second place. An experienced Indian pro, who has been around for a long time, the Lucknow-based Sanjay had just one bogey in his 68.
The home advantage, as it were, was used well by Shamim Khan and Ashok Kumar. Shamim and Ashok have in a manner of speaking grown up at this course. Shamim, a quiet, affable and smiling player, has always been good.
He has a good reliable short game and above all he is very consistent.
He has won a few times in India, but I wish he were playing outside India also. He came in with a great round. I say great, because he actually dropped a shot on the 18th, which is a hole where there are a lot of birdie chances.