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Ashok shoots into lead after first round

Calcutta: The Steel City is throwing up its quota of surprises. Twenty-one year-old rookie pro Ashok Kumar shot into the lead Thursday of the inaugural Rs 10-lakh Tata Steel Open, being played at the Beldih and Golmuri Club courses.

Ashok, who was the No. 1 amateur in the country before turning pro in February, shot a three-under 69 in trying situations to grab a one-stroke lead over Firoz Ali and amateur Amit Khaitan, who shot two-under 70 each, according to information reaching here. Mukesh Kumar (Mhow), Amritinder Singh (Chandigarh), Zai Kipgen and Pappan (both Delhi) were tied for the third place at one-under 71. All the players teed off at the par-72 Beldih course.

At the par-70 Golmuri course, the best score was a level-par 70 from veteran Rohtas Singh of Delhi and Sanjay Kumar of Lucknow. They were overall tied for seventh place along with Noida’s Amit Dube, Indrajit Bhalotia and Rahil Gangjee (both Calcutta), who shot level-par 72 at Beldih course.

Ashok Kumar came out trumps, especially on his second nine. Playing at the par-72 Beldih course, Ashok got off to a bad start with a bogey on the long and difficult par-3 opening hole. Just when it looked as if the 21-year-old was getting back into the groove with birdies on the second and third, he had a loss of concentration and made bogies on fifth, sixth and eighth holes to make the turn at two-over.

However, there was no stopping the youngster on the back nine as he sizzled the course with five birdies.

In his front nine, Firoz made birdies on the fourth and ninth and a bogey on the par-5 seventh. On the back nine, he made a bogey on the 11th, followed by birdies on the 14th and 18th.

Scindia meet

Meanwhile, New Delhi’s Classic Golf Resort will host the inaugural Madhavrao Scindia golf meet Friday. It will be under an offering of the Madhavrao Scindia Foundation. The field for is 108 strong and includes members of sports, political, bureaucratic and corporate worlds.

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