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Thursday, 08 March 2018
Matteo Manassero in India  (Getty Images)
Matteo Manassero in India (Getty Images)

Matteo Manassero was happy to trust his instincts as he carded an opening 67 to sit just two shots off the lead after day one of the Hero Indian Open.

The Italian's tie for third at DLF Golf and Country Club last season was his best result of the campaign and he showed once again he is capable of taming one of the toughest layouts on the European Tour.

He birdied the 12th and 14th but made a double-bogey on the 15th before going bogey-birdie to turn in 36.

The 24 year old then came to life on the front nine, birdieing the first, chipping in on the third and adding further birdies on the fourth and sixth before a ten-foot left-to-righter on the seventh had him in a share of the lead.

He dropped a shot after finding trouble off the tee on the next but regained it on the ninth, before afternoon starter Emiliano Grillo overtook him to claim top spot.

"It was a really good round," he said. "I didn’t start too well which is why I’m pleased to be standing here with a five under par.

"I got a good feeling in my swing on the back nine. I was starting to hit good shots and I managed to grab the opportunities. To be able to start my tournament like this, on a course as challenging as this, gives me plenty of confidence.

"I’ve got moments when I felt pretty good. The consistency is getting there.

"You can put it down into many words. I feel that it’s instinct of managing a good round even if you’re not playing well. You can call it confidence, I call it instinct. It’s something that just comes. It’s hard to describe when rounds come out like this, but I’ll have to keep going in this direction."

Paul Peterson joined Manassero in carding a 67 as he continued his encouraging start to a season that sees him without a full exemption.

The American finished 119th on the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex last season but currently sits 23rd as he attempts to regain his playing privileges.

I’m really happy to be in the spot that I’m at. I’m feeling confident with my game - Paul Peterson

A birdie-birdie-birdie finish catapulted him up the leaderboard in New Delhi and he admitted his performance exceeded expectations.

"I’m really happy with today’s round," he said. "Four under was my goal today so to one up that was nice.

"I made kind of a bad swing there on six, then to bounce back with three birdies to finish the day was big. It’s funny how sometimes a bogey can kind of catapult you to make a few coming in, so I was happy I was able to bounce back from that.

"I’m still hitting a lot of greens, really happy with consistency tee to green and I was able to roll in a couple of putts, so it was great.

"It’s just good to start off with some momentum. To be able to carry that going into these next few days, I’m really happy to be in the spot that I’m at. I’m feeling confident with my game."

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1WALLACE, MattENG18-11
2JOHNSTON, AndrewENG18-11
3KIM, SihwanUSA18-8
T4LARRAZÁBAL, PabloESP18-7
T4SCHWAB, MatthiasAUT18-7
6GRILLO, EmilianoARG18-5

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