Paul takes Indian Open lead with first-round 65


NEW DELHI — Yannik Paul birdied his last four holes to shoot 7-under 65 and take a 1-stroke lead after the first round of the Indian Open on the European tour on Thursday.

The No. 119-ranked German’s hot finish lifted him above Honey Baisoya, who was leading a contingent of Indian players making a fast start at DLF Golf and Country Club in New Delhi.

Baisoya was in outright second place on 6 under while compatriots Angad Cheema and Shubhankar Sharma were tied for fourth place after shooting 68s.

Three more Indian players — Manu Gandas, M Dharma and Yuvraj Sandhu — were also in the top 10 on 2 under, with Sandhu having one hole still to play in his first round.

Paul, whose only win on the European tour came at the Mallorca Open last year, is playing for the sixth straight week and said he took it easy in the pre-tournament buildup. He didn’t even play the back nine, choosing only to walk it — yet went on to birdie six of the nine holes coming in Thursday.

“After a long stretch, you can just feel it here, feel it there,” Paul said. “I just played a nine-hole pro-am yesterday afternoon then walked the back nine on Tuesday, just to conserve as much energy as I could because I knew it would be challenging here, mentally as well as with the golf shots.”

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