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Bhullar, Chikka tied 12th at Thailand Golf Championship

GAGANJEET BHULLAR AND S. CHIKKA scored matching three-under 69s to share the 12th spot after the opening round of the $1 million Thailand Golf Championship at the Amata Spring Country Club in Thailand on Thursday.

Bhullar got off to a flying start, getting three consecutive birdies from the first holes before adding another birdie on the sixth. But a double bogey on the par-five seventh affected him. The 27-year-old recovered by picking two more shots on the ninth and 12th before a bogey on the 14th that gave him 69.

As compared to Bhullar, Chikka got a modest start, a birdie on the second were followe by two consecutive bogeys before a birdie on the fifth brought him to even score. However, bogey on the ninth hole again troubled him. In the back-nine, the Karnataka golfer produced four birdies to move to 69.

Rashid Khan and Shubhankar Sharma carded identical 70s to be tied 23rd, while Shiv Kapur was one shot behind them at the 34th spot.

S.S.P. Chawrasia got even-par 72 as he finished the 18 holes in the tied 49th position, while veterans Jyoti Randhawa and Arjun Atwal had matching rounds of one-over 73s to be joint 62nd.

Himmat Rai struggled for his 75 as he was tied 99th, while Jeev Milkha Singh finished tied 121st on 78. Rahil Gangjee (79) and Chiragh Kumar also struggled.

Meanwhile, Wales’ Jamie Donaldson set the stage alight with a sizzling nine-under 63 to take the first round lead.

The Welshman was clearly a man on fire as he brilliantly navigated his way around the 7,453 yards, par-72 course by marking his flawless card with nine birdies to take pole position at the US$1 million Asian Tour event.

Thailand’s Chanat Sakulpolphaisan, a recent Asian Development Tour (ADT) winner, and Chinnarat Phadungsil spearheaded the home charge by returning with matching 66s to share second place with Spain’s Sergio Garcia.

Donaldson, who is making his debut at the Thailand Golf Championship, stormed off the blocks quickly with four straight birdies from his opening front-nine first.

After turning in 32, he made his homeward run even more remarkable with birdies on 10th, 14th, 15th, 17th and 18th.

“I played really good all day and I couldn’t really do anything wrong. I just need to continue this form for the next few days and not concentrate on things that are out of my control or ahead of me.

“I just want to stay in the present as they say and take it one day at a time,” said Donaldson.

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