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G-force with India

Two Indians, Gaurav Ghei and Gurbaaz Mann, sit pretty on top of the leaderboard, where six golfers share honours, reports Khurram Habib.
Hindustan Times | By Khurram Habib, New Delhi
UPDATED ON OCT 11, 2007 11:19 PM IST

Two Indians, Gaurav Ghei and Gurbaaz Mann, sit pretty on top of the leaderboard, where six golfers share honours. Chapchai Nirat, Danny Chia, David Gleeson and Hur In-hoi and the two Indians carded six-under on the first day of the Hero Honda Indian Open to make all the talk about Delhi Golf Course being tough, look absurd.

India's international stars, Jeev Milkha Singh and Jyoti Randhawa, had lukewarm outings, the former managing just an even-par card.

He wasn't happy with his finishes. Said Jeev later, "I am not too happy. Putting let me down. I have not been trusting my putting too much."

Otherwise, Jeev had a decent outing. His shots from fairways travelled well and far, hitting the green 15 times but his putts on most occasions fell short, the reasons behind his three bogeys.

Jyoti managed two-under to be at tied 23rd spot. But the script of the day was written by Gaurav Ghei, struggling with a sore neck, and to a lesser extent by Gurbaaz Mann, who, in most events twinkles just for a while. Besides them, 20-year-old Hur In-hoi, was the talk of the day too.

Ghei, who, the night before was still in doubt on whether he could complete the event, came up with an inspired show during the day. The day, in fact, had begun in the worst possible manner. Already reeling under pain, he was fined by the traffic police in the morning, and teed off about 20 minutes late.

That, however, only fired him up as he eagled the very first hole, putting from 12 feet. Said Ghei later, "There was no way I was not going to play. It is my home course and I would have played even on a stretcher. But I am happy with the way I played."

Ghei has guts and gumption. Even earlier this year, during a PGTI event in Gurgaon, when he was down with fever, he somehow managed to pull off the competition days.

Said he, "I can't say, how happy I feel."

After that eagle, there were birdies on the eighth, ninth, 11th and 13th holes. He managed to play within his limits and that extra bit of experience he has on this course, helped his cause. No surprises then, there were no mess-up from him anywhere.

Gurbaaz, the other India in lead, said he was rewarded for hitting the ball well. "I left a couple of putts short."

The course played fast no doubt and there were some surprises.

The players on Asian Tour used to faster courses, no doubt relished it, most so. Chapchai Nirat, however, was unlucky not have grabbed the sole lead. He missed a birdie on the last hole.

No work at workshop

It turned out be a miscalculation on part of the organisers, when a coaching clinic for kids, to be conducted by Jeev got cancelled. Jeev said, "No one turned up." It was set for 2 pm, when most kids come back from school. An hour after the scheduled time, some kids turned up, but Jeev begged pardon.

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