Jyoti Randhawa felt his performance on the greens was key to an opening 64 at the Hong Kong Open which has given him an excellent platform to challenge for the title (Randhawa 12/1 – In-Play Winner).
The 42-year-old has never won a European Tour event and the last of his eight Asian Tour titles came more than five years ago. But he rolled back the years on Thursday to card seven birdies and and just one bogey as he set the pace in the former British colony.
The Indian veteran is one shot clear of Philippines star Angelo Que (25/1), who secured five birdies in an error-free round to sit on -5, while Ernie Els (7/1), Nicolas Colsaerts (8/1) and South Africa’s Jbe Kruger (33/1) are among a group of nine players who reached four-under after their first 18 holes in the Far East.
Frenchman Gregory Bourdy (12/1) and Scotland’s Peter Whiteford (66/1) are among a group of 15 stars on -3 although it is not the strongest-looking field for a European Tour event co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour.
But it is the man from New Delhi they will all be looking up to when play resumes on Friday and Randhawa felt he was finally being rewarded for some sterling work with the shortest club in the bag.
“I’ve been playing decent in the last few weeks but haven’t been able to put up a good number,” he said. “Today I really putted my heart out, so I’m really happy with the way it went.”
Defending champion Miguel Angel Jimenez, who is looking to win the title for the third straight year and fifth time overall, could only manage a two-over-par 72, with one birdie and three bogeys in his round.