Anirban Lahiri conceded he had an "up and down day" after he dragged himself into contention at the Hero Indian Open with four closing birdies in a 68 in round one.
The defending champion, who started on the tenth at Delhi Golf Club, was two under for the day through 11 holes but his momentum stalled when he hit a poor chip on the third and then found sand on the fourth to record two bogeys.
A par followed but the home favourite then found his range, giving himself four decent opportunities and rolling them all home to get to four under, three shots behind leader Daniel Im.
"Coming down the final stretch from the sixth to the ninth, it was nice to roll a few," he said.
"Walking down after the fourth, I told my caddie I haven't played badly but I was five or six behind and the guys up there had made a fast start.
The key was to stay in touch somehow. You don't want to go too far behind, so I needed to gain some ground and stay in touch - Anirban Lahiri
"I think it was on the walk from the fifth green to the sixth that I tried to clear my head and then it worked well.
"On the last few holes I also made some good putts from 12 feet. The putt that I missed from five feet on the 11th was something I did not trust. But in the second half I just let the green take the ball."
SSP Chawrasia, another home favourite who lost to Lahiri in a play-off last year, is a shot ahead of his countryman after an opening 67.
The four-time runner-up surrendered a double bogey on the 16th but made up for it with seven birdies and was happy with his day's work.
"It was a good start to the tournament," he said. "Now it's important to build on that for the next three days. Today my putting was good and I made some good recoveries.
"If I had not had made a double bogey on the 16th it could have been better but it's still alright. I will take five under to start."
Three-time Major Championship winner Padraig Harrington signed for a 71 after a closing bogey, and the Irishman felt he could have gone lower on his first visit to India since 1992.
"I played better than my score, especially early in my round," he said. "Finishing with a bogey isn't a great thing.
"I would have been happier if I was three or four under. That's where I felt I should have been. That's the game. We have another 54 holes to go so it is steady start but nothing too spectacular."
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