India’s Shubhankar Sharma got off to a solid start, carding a 4-under 67 to be tied ninth after the first round of the unique Aphrodite Hills Cyprus Showdown here on Thursday.
It was Sharma’s sixth straight round in the 60s and the ninth successive round of par or under score.
SSP Chawrasia ended the day with a colourful 2-over, which started with a birdie and ended with an eagle. In between he had two other birdies, five bogeys and a double bogey.
His 73 placed him T-90 and with only top-32 and ties going into the third round this week he will need to play a very low second round to make the first cut.
Scotsman Robert MacIntyre (65) pulled into sole leadership with a six-under 65 card that included a birdie-birdie finish after being in a tie with seven others at 5-under.
Bogey free MacIntyre had six birdies, three on either side of the Aphrodite Hills Resort.
“The game has been pretty good the past week. Did not make many mistakes. Made a good birdie on second from 15 feet and on Par-6th hit a good chip to 10-12 feet and rolled it in,” Sharma said.
“On the back nine had a very good birdie on 15th which is a tough hole. It is a 210-yard Par-3 downhill and it was straight into the wind so it was like 220 yards. I hit a 5-Iron to 15 feet and made that. That was a great birdie.” he added.
Sharma, who registered his season-best T-14 finish last week at the same course, said he was happy with his performance.
“My only bogey was on Par-3 17th where I went over the green and missed up-and-down. But it was nice to close with a birdie on Par-5 18th. So overall a good day. Good to carry the form from last week.”
Sharma admitted a good start was particularly important as the crowded leaderboard has 41 players at 2-under or better.
Players have two cuts to contend with this week with the scores being reset with only 32 and ties and the top-16 going into the third and final rounds.
The seven players lying tied-2nd are Jamie Donaldson, Joakim Lagergren, Thomas Detry, Sami Valimaki, Rikard Karlberg, Wu Ashun and Romain Langasque.
The players at 4-under 67 with Sharma at T-9th are Alexander Levy, Johannes Veerman, Masahiro Kawamura, David Horsey, Joost Luiten and Sebastian Garcia Rodriguez.