Indian players got off to a fine start in the Asian Tour Qualifying School Final Stage with no less than four Indians featuring in Top-20 of the first round.
A total of 17 Indians are in the fray among the 242 players who are fighting for 35 cards this week at the two courses at Lakeview Resorts and Golf Club.
Former Asian Tour winner, Chiragh Kumar, returning to the Q-School after failing to hold onto his card, turned in a superb six-under 65 that placed him tied 8th but just one shot behind the seven players, who shared the lead at seven-under 64.
The 19-year-old Thai-Japanese Kosuke Hamamoto, compatriot Kwanchai Tannin, China’s Xiao Bowen, Sweden’s Christoffer Baumann, Koreans Taewoo Kim and Jaewoong Eom and Japan’s Daisuke Yasumoto shared the lead.
After Chiragh, a team silver medallist from 2006 Asian Games, the next best Indian was the 2010 Asian Games team silver medal winner, Abhijit Chadha (66) in tied 12th place while Aadil Bedi, who played at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta and Karandeep Kochhar carded four-under 67 and were tied 20th.
Other Indians include Amardip Malik and Arjun Prasad (68) were tied 31st, while Aman Raj, Gaurav Pratap Singh and Veer Ahlawat shot 69 to be tied 50th.
Sunit Chawrasia, nephew of the famous SSP Chawrasia, shot one-under 70, as did Samarth Dwivedi, to be tied 67.
Shankar Das and seasoned Amandeep Singh Johl carded two-over 73 to be tied-162nd, Divyanshu Bajaj (74) was tied 188, Tapy Ghai, Manu Gandas and Kshitij Naveed Kaul shot 75 each to be tied 203rd.
The first cut will be applied after second round as top 140 players and ties will make the third round. A second cut will see leading 70 players after 72 holes to play the final 18 holes after which Top-35 and ties will be ranked for the 2019 season.