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It’s not common to find individuals who battle odds stacked against them and emerge brilliantly. That explains how Delhi’s Naman Dawar, who was bogged down by a career-threatening wrist injury in 2010, effortlessly combated hurdles to lead at the round one of the inaugural Delhi – NCR Open Golf Championship 2018.
He made an astounding start made a course record score of eight-under-64 at the Noida Golf Course. Dawar’s error-free 64 which also accounted for his career-best effort gave him a one-shot lead on day one.
The 38-year-old from the Delhi Golf Club (DGC), who is yet to win his maiden title, had six birdies and an eagle. The big-built Naman, who has two runner-up finishes to his credit, said, “I’m super excited and super happy about today’s round. It’s great to shoot my career-best and also set the course record. I hit it like a dream and wherever I didn’t hit it well my putting came to my rescue.”
“The first two rounds in Pune last week were real confidence-boosters even though I didn’t end that tournament as well as I would’ve wanted to.”
“Both my chip-ins today came from difficult spots. I made an excellent par putt from about 40 feet on the 11th which kind of propelled my round to a different level. The eagle was special as it came right at the end pushed me up to eight-under.”
Dawar, who suffered a career-threatening wrist injury in 2010, further added, “I couldn’t play golf for a year and a half after my injury. That’s when I realized how much I missed playing the game. I just wanted to somehow get the opportunity to play it again. That’s the reason I feel I’m more patient today.
“I’ve gone through a slump for the last few years but now I feel there is some kind of a spark in my game and this could be the season when I could turn things around.”
Karandeep Kochhar of Chandigarh occupied second place after returning a 65 on Tuesday.
Dawar, currently 45th on the PGTI Order of Merit, produced two chip-ins, one for birdie on the third and the other for eagle on the 17th. He also rolled in a 40-feet par putt on the 11th that helped him raise the intensity in the middle stages of his round.
Eighteen-year-old Karandeep Kochhar, who has three top-20s so far this year, continued his consistent showing in the season with a 65 in round one at Noida that included a 40-feet eagle conversion on the eighth, eight birdies and three bogeys.
Kochhar said, “It’s just been a solid season for me so far. I’ve been striking it really well. I feel I’m back in the groove after a rather disappointing 2017. I’m looking to improve on my chipping and short putts in order to further raise my game.”
There was a five-way tie for third place at 68 between Shankar Das, Om Prakash Chouhan, Amardeep Rawat, Mari Muthu and Veer Ahlawat.
Amateur Simarjeet Singh was the highest-placed among the Noida-based golfers. Simarjeet fired a two-under-70 to be tied 15th.