Jakarta: Sujjan Singh drained no less than eight birdies but a bogey near the end at the 17th denied him a share of the lead at the end of the first round of the USD 750,000 CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters, here on Thursday.
Sujjan, playing on a medical exemption, finished a card of four-under 68 and was tied third, one behind joint leaders, Nicholas Fung of Malaysia and Korean-American Anthony Kang, who shot 67 each.
Arjun Atwal, struggling to rediscover his form rallied from a bogey-bogey start to shoot two-under 70, while Rashid Khan, two-over after four also ended with a 70.
EurAsia Cup hero Anirban Lahiri and Rahil Gangjee also carded 70 each to be tied 17th. SSP Chowrasia (71) was tied 34th while Jyoti Randhawa (72) was tied 45th.
Himmat Rai and Digvijay Singh were on the line as they were placed tied 61st with rounds of 73 each, while it was a disappointing day for Chiragh Kumar (77) who at tied 118th will need a superlative second round to make the cut.
Things were not too good for the marquee players as Victor Dubuisson of France, the World No. 29, shot 74 and the 2010 Open winner Louis Oosthuizen carded 72, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Thongchai Jaidee carded 71 each.
Sujjan, whose best on Asian Tour has been a fifth place at the 2011 Avantha Masters and a win on Asian Development Tour in 2012, opened with a birdie but gave away the advantage on the next hole.
He birdied the fourth and sixth and the bogey on eighth meant he turned in one-under. Three birdies in a row from 10th to 12th turned his card around and then he traded a birdie and bogey on the 13th and 14th before a birdie on 16th once again gave him a share of the lead. But he dropped down to third with a bogey on 17th.
"I had a lot of birdies, but the four bogeys spoilt the work. However, I am happy with the way things are progressing. I now need to string together a good week," said Sujjan.
Atwal rallied from bogeys on first two holes with five birdies in next eight holes, but a bogey on 13th dropped him to two-under and he stayed there.
Lahiri had five birdies against three bogeys, while Gangjee, who had two bogeys in his first ten holes after starting from 10th pulled back with four birdies in last eight holes for his 70.
While Fung, put his learning from EurAsia Cup and Malaysian Open to good use, Kang surprised even himself with an opening five-under-par 67.
Thailand’s Chapchai Nirat, a three-time Asian Tour winner, signed for a 68 to take a share of third place with defending champion Bernd Wiesberger of Austria, Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond, Sujjan as well as Australia’s Jake Higginbottom and Cameron Smith who graduated from Qualifying School earlier this year.
The Malaysian held his own and emerged as the best player in the morning’s marquee group which included 2013 Asian Tour Order of Merit champion Kiradech Aphibarnrat (71) of Thailand and Major winner Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa (72).