x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Lesser lights shine bright as Avantha Masters tees off

Unfancied Canizares and Whiteford are joint leaders after day one at six-under 66 while defending champion Chowrasia reels in a 71.

Peter Whiteford had only one bogey.
Peter Whiteford had only one bogey.

NEW DELHI // Alejandro Canizares of Spain and Peter Whiteford of Scotland both shot a six-underpar 66 yesterday to share the lead after the first round of the Avantha Masters.

Whiteford made four successive birdies after the turn in a round that included a lone bogey on the fifth hole.Canizares also mixed seven birdies with one bogey, five of them on his back nine.

Canizares, 29, whose father Jose Maria was part of four Ryder Cup teams, is looking for his second European Tour title after the Russian Open in 2006.

"I played very steady and putted quite nicely," Canizares said. "The only mistake I made was missing a short putt on the seventh, so I made a bogey."

Federico Colombo of Italy was one stroke behind, while six players were a further shot back at the European Tour event.

John Daly, who showed signs of improvement when finishing fourth at the Qatar Open this month, was back to his worst in New Delhi.

The volatile American was second to last after a 79 that included a triple-bogey eight on the 14th and five other bogeys.India's Jeev Milkha Singh was tied for 10th along with seven others on 69 while his compatriot and defending champion Shiv Shankar Prasad Chowrasia could only manage a 71.

Chowrasia said he was a little uncomfortable because of a wrist injury."I had pain in my left wrist during my practice round on Tuesday," Chowrasia said.

For Whiteford, the four consecutive birdies starting from the 10th helped him surge up the leaderboard."That was a nice spurt to get me going," the 31-year-old Whiteford said."I three-putted the ninth as well, so it could as well have been five in a row."

Whiteford said he was surprised by the accuracy of his drives, having struggled from the tee lately.

"It was the first time I've hit the fairways in months," he said. "I think I'm last in the statistics for driving accuracy, but it seems to be going better now."

* Associated Press