Indian golfer Rashid second at Taiwan Masters

Taipei, Oct 1 (IANS) Young Indian golfer Rashid Khan carded an impressive four-under 68 to trail leader Danny Chia of Malaysia by one shot after the opening round of the $650,000 Mercuries Taiwan Masters here on Thursday.

Rashid, a two-time winner of the Asian Tour, reeled in eight straight pars before making a birdie on the 18th to turn in one-under at the par-72 Taiwan Golf and Country Club’s Tamsui course.

The 24-year-old picked up another shot on the par-three second after missing a hole-in-one by six inches but stumbled with a bogey on the next as he was unable to get up-and-down for par.

The Delhi based golfer, however, recovered swiftly on the fifth where he unexpectedly saved a wayward tee shot out of bounce by hitting his second shot to 10 yards before chipping in for birdie.

“It was an up and down round for me. I played pretty consistent, hit a few bad shots but I recovered nicely from there. I hit it left on the fifth and the ball went out of bounce but I was lucky to find my ball inside the trees. It was a really tough shot there. I hit it to greenside and chip in nicely for birdie,” Rashid said in a release after finishing second.

“That got my game going. I went on to eagle the sixth hole after chipping in from greenside. It was a back-to-back chip-ins for me. The course is playing good. I will keep to the same things tomorrow and hopefully I can still see my name up there,” added Rashid.

Among other Indians in the fray, S. Chikka was tied 13th following a 72, while Himmat Rai shared the 19th spot with 10 others with a one-over 73.

Veteran golfer Arjun Atwal, Rahil Gangjee and Gaganjeet Bhullar were tied 57th after scoring matching 76.

Chiragh Kumar took the tied 73rd position after scoring a 77, while Angad Cheema struggled to get an 81 and finish joint 109th.

Meanwhile, Chia, who claimed his only Asian Tour win in Chinese Taipei 13 years ago, marked his card with two eagles and two birdies against a lone bogey to score 67.

Talented Thai Phachara Khongwatmai, youngest player in the field at 16 years old, returned with a 69 to share the third place with Siddikur Rahman of Bangladesh in the storied event, which is celebrating its 29th edition this week.

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