GURGAON, INDIA (AFP) – Itthipat Buranatanyarat donned a face mask against choking air pollution as he fired an eight-under 64 on Thursday (Nov 14) for a two-shot lead in the first round of the smog-interrupted Panasonic Open India golf tournament.
The Thai bogeyed his first hole, but recovered with an eagle and two birdies on the front nine, and five consecutive birdies on the back at the Classic Golf and Country Club in Gurgaon, near New Delhi.
Indonesia’s Danny Masrin kept pace as he sank six birdies for a 66, ahead of five players – including local rising star Arjun Prasad – who hit 67.
Singapore’s Jesse Yap, with five birdies in his round of 68, was one of three players in joint-eighth position on 68. Only 60 players completed their opening round.
Organisers of the four-day US$400,000 Asian Tour tournament told AFP they had delayed the opening round “due to poor visibility and weather conditions” and were assessing whether a shortened event might be necessary.
Itthipat said he was pleased with his performance in spite of the delay and poor air quality.
“I just needed to wear a mask and apart from that, it was business as usual,” he said.
“I managed to play well despite everything and I’m very proud of myself.”
Eight-time Asian Tour winner Jyoti Randhawa of India, who is playing his 300th event on the circuit, shot level par.
The first edition of the Panasonic Open was played in 2011, with Indian players winning seven out of the previous eight tournaments.