Wentworth (UK): Shiv Kapur and Anirban Lahiri fought back hard in the closing stages to finish their first round respectably as the Indians made a modest start to their campaign at the BMW PGA Championships. Kapur was the only Indian under par at two-under 70 while Lahiri and Jeev Milkha Singh shot even par 72 and the fourth Indian in the field, SSP Chawrasia had a bumpy back nine as he ended at one-over 73. Kapur was tied 13th while Lahiri and Jeev were tied 34th and Chawrasia was tied 62nd.
World No. 1 and defending champion Rory McIlroy shot one-under 71 with four birdies and three bogeys. Sweden’s Robert Karlsson (67) had two birdies in last three holes to take sole lead at five-under while evergreen Miguel Angel Jimenez, Jorge Campillo, Chris Wood and Korea’s Y.E.Yang were tied second with rounds of four-under 68 each.
Also at four-under were Francesco Molinari and Marc Warren, but they had six and nine holes respectively to play. India’s top ranked star, Lahiri closed with a hat-trick of birdies, while Kapur fought his way back from a disastrous triple bogey on the back nine. After being two-under through 12, Kapur’s triple on 13th was a big setback. But the 32-year-old, still looking for his maiden European Tour title birdied the 14th, 16th and 17th for a brilliant fight back before closing with a par on a course that has two par-fives in succession on 17th and 18th.
Lahiri closed with a three-birdie burst to get back to par at the end of the first round after being three-over after 13 holes. Lahiri, playing in Europe for the first time this year, had a birdie on the third hole, but bogeys on fifth and seventh set him back. A double bogey on 13th saw him dip further to three-over, before he steadied the ship with two pars. Then came birdies on 16th, 17th and 18th brought him back to par.
“The finish will give me a lot of confidence going into the second round. I hit the ball pretty good, but need to get other parts of the game working better,” said Lahiri. “The front nine was average, but that double was a disappointment. But I did not give in as I knew a couple of birdies could change momentum again.”