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Thursday, 31 January 2013
Agustin Domingo (shotsonthefairway.com) ()
Agustin Domingo (shotsonthefairway.com) ()

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  • Shiv Kapur (shotsonthefairway.com)
  • Kensville Golf and Country Club (shotsonthefairway.com)
Agustin Domingo stormed into the first round lead in the Challenge Tour’s season-opening Gujarat Kensville Challenge as he set a new course record at Kensville Golf and Country Club with a six under par 66.

That handed the Spaniard a one shot advantage over Scotland’s Andrew McArthur and India’s Shiv Kapur at the sun-kissed venue outside the western Indian city of Ahmedabad.

In benign conditions, Domingo opened with a par and while he chipped in from the back of the green on the second hole he could not build any momentum from that stroke of luck and proceeded to bogey the par four seventh hole.

His round took flight at the turn, however, as the 31 year old carded back to back birdies at the ninth and tenth holes before gaining two more shots at the 12th and 14th.

He then finished in style by holing a 15 footer on the par five 17th before putting the icing on the cake of a fine day’s golf with a 25 footer for birdie at the last.
 “I'm really happy to have a course record,” said Domingo, whose uncle is former European Tour player and winner on the Senior Tour, Domingo Hospital. “I had one as an amateur at a new course way back when I was young so this is the first time since then.

“I didn’t expect to have such a good day. I have been training three weeks and I didn’t feel too good going into this tournament but everything just went well.

“I started well but didn’t make any of my birdie putts and then I chipped in at the second hole for birdie so that was really nice and gave me a boost and the putts on the final two holes were really nice.”

Domingo revealed he had had a late night prior to the opening round, but he certainly was not occupying himself with beer or wine in the alcohol-free state of Gujarat – instead he was up in front of the television watching his beloved Barcelona FC as they were held to a 1-1 draw in “El Clasico” against Real Madrid.

“I am a huge Barcelona fan,” he said. “The match ended at 3.15 in the morning and then I went to bed until about 10.30 this morning but it all went well today thankfully!”

Kapur, meanwhile, is chasing his first Challenge Tour victory and The European Tour regular got off to a strong start with a five under par round of 67 to share second place with McArthur.

One of the major features of the tournament in previous years has been the battle between Indians and Europeans, with home favourite Gaganjeet Bhullar winning the inaugural event in 2011 before Germany’s Max Kieffer beat another Indian Rahil Gangjee in a play-off last year, and Kapur is confident of challenging after claiming a victory on the Professional Golf Tour of India at the end of 2012.

“Any time you play, you aim to win and I had a good back end of last year. I put myself in contention and I won the last tournament I played in so I’m coming into this week with positive thoughts and I hope I can carry that on.

“It was good solid golf today. On the front nine I left a lot of putts out there but I hit the ball pretty solid all day and gave myself a lot of chances - the longest putt I had all day was 6 feet so I struck it really well so no complaints.”

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1KAPUR, ShivIND18-14
2MCARTHUR, AndrewSCO18-12
3ARCHER, PhillipENG18-11
4IM, DanielUSA18-8
T5KUMAR, MukeshIND18-7
T5SLUITER, TimNED18-7
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