India's Honey Baisoya, playing at his home course, made his presence felt with a six-under 66 on Day One of the US$2 million Hero Indian Open 2023.
Baisoya was placed second, one behind the clubhouse leader Yannik Paul (65) of Germany who closed the round in style with birdies on his last four holes at the DLF Golf and Country Club.
Round one could not be completed on Thursday as fading light forced the final two groups off the course.
While Finland's Mikko Korhonen was in third place with a 67, Indians Shubhankar Sharma and Angad Cheema fired 68s to share the fourth spot with Iceland's Gudmundur Kristjansson.
Also read | Bengaluru Open: Ramkumar enters doubles quarter-finals
Seven players including Indians Manu Gandas, M. Dharma and Yuvraj Singh Sandhu are tied for eighth at two under each. Among them, Yuvraj will come back in the morning to play his last hole.
The familiarity with the DLF Golf and Country Club layout paid rich dividends for seven-time PGTI winner Honey Baisoya, who confessed he plays the course every day when he is in town. Baisoya's brilliant round featured eight birdies and a double-bogey.
Baisoya said, "It was pretty good. You're going to miss a few out there. That's okay. I just made one error on the 14th hole. But that's how DLF is, if you make one bad shot, you're going to come up with a bogey or even a double.
"I made some really good putts today too. The highlight of the day would be on the 16th hole. I hit my ball to the left where it hit a tree and came back about 30 yards. I then had about 40 yards to the flag and made the chip and putt there. That was very satisfying," Baisoya said.
Sharma, who produced six birdies and two bogeys on day one, said, "I'm quite pleased with the round. It was slightly up and down in the beginning. But the back nine is the tougher nine here which is where I started. Sometimes you don't make too many mistakes, but even good shots don't get the result and that happened a couple of times with me on the back nine where I made two bogeys, but I was playing well and I was feeling really good."
Angad Cheema, like Shubhankar, too enjoyed a fruitful second nine which was his front nine. Five of Cheema's six birdies came on the front nine. He also made two bogeys.
Also read | Women's T20 World Cup: Harmanpreet, Jemimah efforts in vain as Australia reach final with a five-run win
Cheema, a winner on the PGTI, said, "I'm delighted to have got off to a good start. I feel I've been in good rhythm since the second half of last season when I was in contention quite a few times."
Among the prominent Indian names, two-time champion SSP Chawrasia, Gaganjeet Bhullar and Shiv Kapur shot scores of 75.
Defending champion Stephen Gallacher of Scotland returned a 77 on a day only the top 33 in the field of 120 were able to finish par or better.