New Delhi: Ace Indian golfer Jyoti Randhawa made an impressive start at the $ 6 million WGC-American Express championship, carding a one-under 69 to be tied for the eighth place after the opening round at the Capital City Club in Atlanta.
According to information reaching here from the par 70, Crabapple course, Randhawa was four behind leader Sergio Garcia of Spain, and two strokes adrift of defending champion and world number one Tiger Woods when play ended Thursday. Woods, along with Choi Kyung-ju of Korea, was tied for the fourth place at 3-under 67. Tim Herron and Rocco Mediate (both US) were joint second at 4-under 66.
Arjun Atwal, the other Indian in fray at the premier championship, was tied for the 60th place following an opening round of six-over 76. Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand, who makes up the Asian trio to have made it to the 72-man field, was tied 37th at 3-over 73.
On an exacting course, where the cream of golf found the lightning fast greens too tough to handle (the average putts for the entire field was 30.61), Randhawa was one of only 12 players who managed to break par.
The number one player on the Asian PGA Tour in 2002 made three birdies and two bogeys in his round, where he struggled off the tee, finding just five of the 14 possible fairways. However, Randhawa’s irons were faring much better, and he still managed to find 13 greens in regulation.
“This is a great start for me,” Randhawa was quoted as saying in a press statement. Now I need to capitalise on this and be consistent over the next three days. The conditions are tough here and you have got to be in the fairway to post a good score, which is difficult considering that they are so narrow,” added the Gurgaon-based golfer, who is paired with twice WGC winner Darren Clarke and Aussie Peter of Malley for the second round.
Atwal had a terrible start to his round and had made four bogeys by the sixth hole with a solitary birdie on the fifth. On the back nine, he made a double bogey on the par-4 16th, and bogeys on the 14th and 18th holes.