Shiv Kapur, Gaganjeet Bhullar among 5 tied 1st in Royal Cup golf tournament
Indian golfers Shiv Kapur and Gaganjeet Bhullar are in the lead at the Royal Cup in Pattaya on Thursday.other sports Updated: Dec 28, 2017 21:33 IST
Indian golfers Shiv Kapur and Gaganjeet Bhullar were among the quintet in share of the first round lead at four-under 67 at the Royal Cup golf tournament here today.
Two other Indians, Jyoti Randhawa and Khalin Joshi carded 70 each and were T-20.
Making things close was the fact that 27 golfers are within three shots of the lead at 2017’s final event being played at the Phoenix Gold Golf and Country Club here.
Newly-wed Bhullar enjoyed a bogey-free round, highlighted by birdies on holes six, seven, 10 and 11.
The 29-year-old Indian did not have ample time to prepare for the $500,000 tournament as he arrived in Thailand the previous night.
However, he played on the same course last year and after five holes, he adapted to the set up.
Bhullar said, “I had a good, stable round. I hit the ball really well. I gave myself a lot of birdie opportunities but because I misread the speed of the greens, I missed some of them. Overall, it’s a decent start to the tournament.
“I actually played without a practice round as I arrived last night, but because I played here last year, I have a rough idea of what’s going on at the course.
“It took me a few holes to get used to the speed and the slopes. By hole five, I was a little more confident and comfortable. I’m looking forward to the next three days.”
Kapur got jolted into a competitive mindset after his bogey on the 14th, his fifth hole of the round. Kapur, who recently welcomed the birth of his daughter, went on to card four birdies over seven holes before stringing a series of pars to close the round.
He said, “I started off striking the ball very well and I’ve left quite a few shots out there. I putted 31 times and shot 67, which means that I’ve done very well when it comes to ball striking.
“I made a good par save on the last from the bunker. When you hole a good putt on the last hole, it always leaves a good taste in the mouth.
“My bogey on the 14th got me to re-focus and think. I told myself, ‘you’re playing well, but you have to buckle down.’ This is especially so, when you haven’t played for some time and your sharpness isn’t there. I bounced back with a birdie on 15th, which set the tone for the rest of the day.”
Bhullar is the first player to win eight titles on the Asian Tour before turning 30. He has three wire-to-wire victories so far.
Kapur bounced back from liver surgery and dengue fever to win two tournaments in 2017, the Yeangder Heritage and Panasonic Open India.