Ghei, Randhawa make strong start

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Indian golfers Ghei and Randhawa combined superbly to make a strong start of 65 in the first round of the Omega Mission Hills World Cup on Thursday.

Updated: November 23, 2007 13:03 IST
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Dongguan, China:

Indian golfers Gaurav Ghei and Jyoti Randhawa combined superbly to fire seven birdies that gave them a strong start of 65 in the first round of the Omega Mission Hills World Cup on Thursday.

Despite the fine score, the pair ended the day in shared 11th place.

The American team of Boo Weekley and Heath Slocum combined for a blistering 61 to lead by one shot from Germany, represented by Alex Cejka and Martin Kaymer in the $5 million event billed as "The Olympics of Golf".

Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee and Prayad Marksaeng kept joking with each other as they carded a nine-under-par 63 in the opening round's fourball to lead the Asian charge.

"Jyoti played really well. I was just riding along," enthused Ghei. "This is a very good start. It would have been better if we had picked up a few more shots.

"I missed a small one on 16 and on 15 (par five) we didn't make birdie after good drives. We left a couple of shots here and there."

The Indian duo clearly enjoyed each other's company as this is the first time they are competing in the Omega Mission Hills World Cup as a pair. "It was easy to click as a team. We were great. A few times, he read my lines and I read his," Ghei said.

"Gaurav was there all the time and that gives you a lot of support and I got aggressive and made birdies," said Randhawa. "Whenever we needed pars, he made it. It's not that I was the only one who played ... it's a good team effort. Not dropping bogey was a great effort from us.

"There were a lot of things that we talked about on the golf course which cannot be printed! We were relaxed out there," added Randhawa, who won the Hero Honda Indian Open this year.

Thongchai, a two-time Asian Tour number one, was in sparkling form as he contributed six birdies in the better-ball format while Prayad sank three birdies at the Mission Hills Golf Club's Olazabal Course.

"I played very well along with Prayad. He drove nicely and as he teed off first and was always on the fairways, I could get aggressive. We were very steady," said Thongchai, who is making his debut in the Omega Mission Hills World Cup.

Prayad paid tribute to his partner's scintillating play and said they talked all the way through the round, which kept them at ease. "My game wasn't really in form. Thongchai played really good to get us going," said Prayad, a five-time winner in Asia.

Thongchai added: "We worked well together. There were some holes where I just picked up the ball. If someone played bad, the other would concentrate hard. It is very important to do that in the fourball. In the last hole, he drove it into the water but I got it into play (for par).

The home combination of Zhang Lian-wei and Liang Wen-chong from China ended the first day four off the pace.

The first and third rounds will use the fourball (better ball) format while the second and final rounds will use the foursomes (alternate shot) format.

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