Spain’s Pablo Larrazabal had a “wild” start to the Indian Open when his alarm failed, but the near-disaster inspired him to within two shots of the lead in the opening round yesterday.
Clubhouse leader Emiliano Grillo said he played “almost perfect golf” to card seven-under 65 in Gurgaon before play was suspended for bad light, preventing 24 players from completing their round.
“I almost had to play perfect golf out there. It’s a very difficult golf course. I’m very happy with the way I handled myself out there. It was very tough and I was able to make some good putts and hit the fairways when I needed to,” he said.
“I shot seven-under-par, but I think anywhere else it would have been close to a 59. It was definitely a magnificent round of golf. Every tee shot, every second shot, you don’t want to miss it in the wrong place.”
Larrazabal made an impression with five-under to be tied second with Paul Peterson of the US and Italy’s Matteo Manassero.
The Spaniard had a scary start to the day when he woke up just 38 minutes before his tee-time after his new phone reverted to the time back in Europe.
A timely wake-up call from a European Tour official, “a 10-second shower” and a mad car dash got Larrazabal to the DLF Golf and Country Club
just before his 7:00am start time.
“I think the courtesy car made a world record from the hotel to the golf course in a couple of minutes, a ride that can take 10 or 15 minutes, it was really wild,” said Larrazabal.
“Shooting under par on this golf course, it’s unbelievable,” added the 34-year-old.
Home favourite and young golfing sensation Shubhankar Sharma had an ordinary start after shooting one-over at a course considered among the toughest on the Asian and European tour.
“I didn’t start the event the way I would’ve liked to. Nonetheless, I’m happy with my comeback on the front-nine and the way I finished the round,” said Sharma.
But the 21-year-old Sharma had reason to smile after receiving an invite from Rory McIlroy to play a practice round with the legend at the Masters next month.
Other noted Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri and Jyoti Randhawa carded even-par 72 to be tied 37th while defending champion SSP Chawrasia had a forgettable day at two-over.
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