Ajeetesh Sandhu and Aadil Bedi were the best Indians at the end of the first round, bringing home identical five-under 67 at the USD 300,000 Sarawak Golf Championship on Thursday.
The Indian duo was tied 17th and were three shots behind Malaysian Ben Leong (64), who was down with fever for last two days.
Among other Indians, four of them -- Rashid Khan, Viraj Madappa, Udayan Mane and Aman Raj -- carded four-under 68 each to be tied 30th on a low scoring day.
Abhijit Chadha, S Chikkarangappa, Akshay Sharma and Gaurav Pratap Singh also started well with three-under 69 to be tied 52nd. Those behind them were Shiv Kapur and M Dharma with 70 each, Honey Baisoya, Khalin Joshi and Karandeep Kochhar with 71 each; Chiragh Kumar with 73 and Veer Ahlawat with 74.
Leong rose from his sick bed to set the morning pace with a flawless eight-under-par 64. He recovered just in time to post a commendable round highlighted by one eagle and six birdies at the Arnold Palmer-designed Damai Golf and Country Club.
Daisuke Kataoka of Japan trails by one in second place while Australian Terry Pilkadaris sits a further shot back in third alongside American Trevor Simsby, Thai duo Settee Prakongvech and Sadom Kaewkanjana after they shot matching 66s.
Sandhu, who has one Asian Tour win to his name, and Bedi, in his rookie season, had six birdies against one bogey each at a course that yielded a lot of birdie chances.
Thai veteran Prayad Marksaeng produced the shot of the day when his five-iron tee shot found the bottom of the cup on the par-three 14th hole from 202 yards. It was the 14th ace he has recorded in his illustrious career.
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