March 8, 2018 / 3:29 PM / a year ago

Grillo grabs early lead at Indian Open

(Reuters) - Argentina’s Emiliano Grillo set the early pace with a course-record equalling seven-under-par 65 before darkness fell on day one of the Indian Open on Thursday.

FILE PHOTO - Golf - The 146th Open Championship - Royal Birkdale - Southport, Britain - July 20, 2017 Argentina’s Emiliano Grillo hits his tee shot on the fifth hole during the first round REUTERS/Hannah McKay

Grillo, 25, posted eight birdies to take a two-shot lead ahead of Spaniard Pablo Larrazabal, Italian Matteo Manassero and American Paul Peterson.

The severity of the course DLF Golf and Country Club in Gurgaon, Haryana meant 24 players could not finish their rounds due to the number of rulings required throughout the day.

Frenchman Adrien Saddier was five-under with one hole to play, alongside South Africa’s Keith Horne who was through 16.

Larrazabal’s 67, containing nine birdies, was an incredible feat after he almost missed his tee-time due to alarm not going off and a wake-up call from a European Tour official came just 38 minutes before he was due to start his round.

“My lovely new iPhone went back to Spanish time overnight and I woke up at the hotel 38 minutes before my tee-time,” the 34-year-old Spaniard said.

“I woke up, had a 10-second shower and I ran and had courtesy car waiting for me. I arrived at the course 25 minutes before my tee-time.

“The adrenaline didn’t help. After hitting 10 balls on the range, I told my caddie that I had to stop because I was nervous. Delhi’s traffic is quite tough. I got lucky that we didn’t have traffic.”

Manassero made the turn in 36 but then came to life on the front-nine with birdies on the first, third, fourth and sixth before a ten-foot putt on the seventh briefly gave him a share of the lead.

He dropped a shot on the next but regained it on the ninth to stay in contention after finishing third last year.

India’s Shubhankar Sharma, who will make his major debut at next month’s U.S. Masters after finishing tied-ninth at the WGC-Mexico Championship, started poorly but recovered on the front-nine with four birdies to sit eight shots off the lead.

Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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