New Delhi: The Netherlands' Robert-Jan Derksen posted an opening six-under-par 66 to take the clubhouse lead at the Asian Tour's season-opening Avantha Masters Thursday after play was suspended due to darkness.
Derksen enjoyed a blemish-free round for a single shot lead over England's Mark Foster and Argentina's Julio Zapata, who signed for matching 67s at the $2.3 million event.
Australia's Darren Beck is lying in second place on five-under-par through 13 holes, while three-time Asian Tour winner Chapchai Nirat of Thailand carded a 68 to be among the six players bunched in equal fifth that include India's Jeev Milkha Singh and Rashid Khan.
Play was delayed by more than three hours after the DLF Golf and Country was shrouded in heavy fog. A total of 66 players have yet to complete the first round and were to resume early Friday.
When play finally started, it was the Dutchman who made his move up the leaderboard with three birdies each in his front and back-nine.
Derksen, who teed off in the opening back-nine, got his first birdie on hole 12 before adding another two on holes 17 and 18 to reach the turn in 33.
He continued to mark his card with furthers birdies on holes three, six and nine to take the early bragging rights.
"It was a long day with the delay this morning but I have to say that it was worth the wait. I played steady, drove it nicely, which is very important on this course and the putting was a lot better than what it has been the last few weeks because I have been struggling with that," said Derksen.
Chapchai, who established a 72-hole all-time scoring low record in India two years ago, is delighted to return to the country of his famous victory.
The Thai opened his campaign with a bogey on the par-four 10th. He recovered quickly with a birdie on the 11th hole but was set back again with another bogey on the par-four 13th.
However, Chapchai went on to add three more birdies on the 14th, 15th and 18th holes to reach the turn in 34 before marking his inward nine with two bogeys against four birdies.
"Overall, it was a good opening score. The birdies in my closing two holes really helped a lot in pushing me up the leaderboard," said the 27-year-old Thai.
Khan, who is playing in his third international event since turning professional last October, showed that he can match up against the best despite being only 20 years old.
"I only felt nervous when I stepped up to the tee box for my opening shot. Once that got out of the way, I was able to play my normal game and it felt really good," said Khan.