Chikka lies third after opening round in Korea

Cheonan (Korea), Jun 22 (PTI) Powered by a late eagle in his opening round, India’s S Chikkarangappa turned in a solid two-under 69 to lie tied third at the Kolon Korea Open.

Chikka, who has twice come close to winning in the past and finished runner-up, started on the back nine and was even par through 16 holes with a birdie on 13th and a bogey on 15th.

He eagled the eighth and parred the ninth, his closing hole for 69. He was the top Indian.

Korean-American Seungsu Han shot 66 on the opening day and was impressive as he took the lead on five under at the challenging Woo Jeong Hills Country Club, in Cheonan, south of Seoul.

South African Ian Snyman fired a 68, while Koreans Minkyu Kim, the defending champion, Inhoi Hur, Jeongwoo Ham and Sungjoon Park plus Chikka, and Chinese-Taipei’s Lee Chieh-po returned 69s.

Among the other Indians, who did not have a great day, Honey Baisoya (73) was T-49 as SSP Chawrasia and Viraj Madappa with 74 each were T-69.

Rahil Gangjee, who had just five pars in his 18 holes, had five birdies, six bogeys and two doubles in his 76 and was T-92. Ajeetesh Sandhu (77) was T 109th and Karandeep Kochhar (80) was T-129th.

Leader Han is a winner on both the Japan Golf Tour and the Korean Tour, while Snyman is playing just his second season on the Asian Tour.

Filipino Miguel Tabuena, the highest ranked player here on the Asian Tour Order of Merit in second place, came in with a 73, as did Korean Chanmin Jung, who won this year’s GS Caltex Maekyung Open.

This week’s event is part of The Open Qualifying Series and will see the leading two players make it through to The Open at Royal Liverpool Golf Club on July 20-23.