Kochhar shoots 67 to lie Tied 3rd in Taipei after rain-hit first round
Linkou: India's Karandeep Kochhar birdied each of the four Par-5s to open his campaign at the Yeangder TPC with a solid five-under 67 that placed him Tied-third after a rain-hit first round here on Thursday.
The 20-year-old from Chandigarh was among the five players who had completed their rounds at five-under. Playing partners Wang Wei-hsuan and Lien Lu-sen of Chinese Taipei are on six-under-par through 13 holes, while countryman Lee Chieh-po trails the duo by two shot after nine. The 19-year-old Wang is yet to complete his round, but has already matched the Tour's record of most birdies made at the start of the round with his seven birdies in-a-row.
Long-hitting Karandeep, who turned pro at 17, won a pro title while being an amateur but has not won after moving into the paid ranks. He started from the back nine and had three birdies against one bogey and on the back nine he had two birdies, both on Par-5s and then closed the day with a birdie on Par-4 ninth. Among other Indians, who had finished play, Abhijit Chadha and S Chikkarangappa shot two-under 70 each, while 2017 winner Ajeetesh Sandhu started with one-under 71, as did Aman Raj.
Jeev Milkha Singh shot even par 72.
Other Indians who are yet to complete their rounds are Shiv Kapur, Chiragh Kumar, Khalin Joshi, Viraj Madappa and Aadil Bedi.
Kochhar, whose best finish this season has been T-12 in Bangladesh, had his round interrupted twice by the rain and winds.
"It was a tough day. My round was suspended twice. I am lucky to finish before they blew the horn again. The second time we went out, the winds were really blowing hard on the last three holes. But I think I held up very well. I putted very well and I think that was the key," he said.
"The greens are quite tricky here. They are not easy to read. Overall, my game is in a good shape. I am happy with the way I played. I made a good up and down for birdie on the fourth hole. My second shot went into the bunker but I hit it to 10 feet from there and made the putt. "I really wanted to get the round done when I was playing the last few holes. I have been up since 4 am and its been a long day. It's been awhile since I played this well." Kochhar has mixed memories of his last visit here. "I played here last year as well. The Asian Tour was really nice to give me an invite this year. I remember playing in similar conditions last year too. I shot a seven-over in the first round and then a six-under in the second round to make the cut and eventually finished in the top-15," he said.