Indonesia’s Rory Hie returns to happy hunting ground with a stunning 63, leads by two in round one of Gurugram Challenge 2022
29/03/2022 21:11:00 PM Rajan Kumar Singh 194
Amrit Lal Lubana, Tapy Ghai, Shamim Khan, Rajiv Kumar Jatiwal are best-placed Indians in tied third
Nuh, Haryana: Indonesia’s Rory Hie returned to his happy hunting ground with a stunning nine-under 63 to take a two-shot lead in round one of the Gurugram Challenge 2022 TATA Steel PGTI – ADT hosted by Classic Golf & Country Club.
Rory, who won his only Asian Tour title at the Classic Golf & Country Club in 2019, posted a flawless round on Tuesday which also featured birdies on the last three holes.
Ira Alido of the Philippines fired a 65 to be placed second at the event co-sanctioned by the PGTI and the Asian Development Tour (ADT).
The Indian quartet of Amrit Lal Lubana, Tapy Ghai, Shamim Khan and Rajiv Kumar Jatiwal were bunched in tied third at 66 along with Thailand’s Chanat Sakulpolaphaisan.
Rory Hie was off to a solid start in round one with three birdies on the front-nine. The 33-year-old Rory, consistently landing it within 10 feet of the flag, then added three more birdies between the 10th and the 13th.
Hie then signed off with a late flurry, sinking birdies on the last three holes. A great tee shot on the 16th set up an easy second shot and a subsequent short putt for him. Rory then chipped-in from an awkward position on the 17th before closing with a quality chip-putt on the 18th.
Rory said, “It’s always nice for me to come back here to Classic. I’m extremely happy with the start as I shot my best score in three years and I also improved on my best score at this venue as I had previously shot a 64 in 2019 when I won here.
“I knew the 16th, 17th and 18th would be tough. My goal was to play one-under on that stretch. The 17th was the highlight for me, I probably hit the longest seven-iron of my life there, I thought it would stop next to the pin but it landed 15 yards over the green. Somehow this place has been pretty magical for me, so I had an inkling that I might chip-in on the 17th and that’s exactly how it turned out.
“You need to take advantage of the short par-4s and the par-5s to score well here. It’s easier said than done but that’s what I managed to do today.
“In the practice round on Monday, my goal was to just have fun and take it easy. Yesterday, my caddie Lakhan and me were reliving some of the shots from my win here at Classic in 2019. It’s always good to relive those memories, it gives good vibes at the start of the week.”
Twenty-one-year-old rookie Ira Alido’s 65 was also a bogey-free round. Alido hit his wedges well as he chipped-in on the 12th and landed most other shots within a range of six feet of the flag.
Alido said, “I feel it will be a good week for me here at Classic because the course suits my eye as it’s quite open and driving is my strength. Putting will be key as the greens have a lot of slopes and tricky.
“I was quite disappointed after missing the cut last week at DGC but this week I’m here for redemption. This is just my second tournament in the year so I’m hoping to get some momentum going this week.”
Tapy Ghai, playing at his home course, had a run of five consecutive birdies from the third to the seventh. He then had a double-bogey on the 12th but bounced back well with two birdies thereafter.
Ghai, a winner on the PGTI, said, “I was in a good birdie range on the greens through the round. In the morning, the wind was pretty less, it only got a little windy on the back-nine but I adjusted well to the change in conditions.
“I’m always quite comfortable playing here at my home course. I know the lines on the greens, I know where to miss it and where not to miss it. I’ve had a decent start to the year and I feel I’m getting better with each event.”
Amrit Lal Lubana went error-free during his 66. He made a couple of good par saves from the bunker on the second and third.
Chanat Sakulpolaphaisan, took confidence from his decent tied 23rd finish at DGC last week, to produce a 66 in round one at Classic.
Shamim Khan’s round featured an eagle on the closing 18th along with five birdies and a bogey. Rajiv Kumar Jatiwal came up with eight birdies and two bogeys.
India’s Rashid Khan, one of the pre-event favourites, carded a 67 to be tied eighth.