Cricketer father by the side, Krishnav Chopraa best Indian at APAC

Krishnav Chopraa - TheGolfingHub
Krishnav Chopraa plots strategy with father and caddie Nikhil on Day 1 of the Asia Pacific Amateur Championship at the Amata Spring Country Club on Thursday. Photo Credit: V Krishnaswamy

Krishnav Nikhil Chopraa, making his debut at the 13th Asia Pacific Amateur Championships was the best Indian at Tied 20th after the first day at the Amata Spring Country Club, Chonburi.

The 17-year-old Chopraa had five birdies but twice hit into the water on the eighth for a bogey and a double bogey on ninth. “I made a good recovery on the back nine,” said Krishnav, whose father, Nikhil, was his caddie, having taken a break from his commentary duties at the T20 World Cup in Australia.

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Krishnav was five shots behind the leader, Bo Jin (65) at the end of the first round.

It was disappointing start for the other Indians as Shat Mishra (73) was tied 50th. Rayhan Thomas, Arjun Gupta and Milind Soni with 74 each were Tied 61st and Aryan Roopa Anand (75) was Tied 74th. Shaurya Bhattacharya (76) was Tied 80th in the 120-man field which has players from 38 countries and territories.

The leader was Bo Jin, who began the day with a bogey, had six birdies and an eagle after that in his 7-under 65. He held a two-shot lead at the end of the first day. Bo’s brother, Cheng, won the championship in 2015 and Bo himself finished third and eighth in his previous two starts at AAC.

On a low-scoring day,  Bo was followed by Singaporean James Leow, who missed a Korn Ferry Tour card by two shots, and the 15-year-old Thai sensation ‘TK’ Ratchanon Chantananuwat, who has won a pro event on Asian Tour. Leow and ‘TK’ shot 67 each.

Krishnav, who joined the Long Beach State University in the US this year, said, “I started off with a birdie and hit my driver on fairway about 90 yards in to the pin. I left it 15-20 feet short but made the putt.”

He went on, “I was 3‑under through 7.  On 8 I hit a bad tee shot into the water and on 9 again hit into the water. But after that I bounced back.  My dad was on the bag. We knew that on the back nine we could recover.  I had a good recovery on the back nine; it was bogey‑free.”

Krishnav got off to a flying start with a birdie on his very first hole. His also had birdies on third, seventh, 11th and 12th. There were some birdie chances in the last six holes but they did not fall. Yet, he finished his last six holes without a bogey for a card of 2-under 70.

Krishnav speaking of having his father as the caddie, added, “He’s pretty good with the lines.  He’s a golfer, too. He knew what he was doing and he helped me with a few putts. Kept me hydrated. Kept me laughing even after hitting the bogey and double‑bogey.”

The father added, “This is his moment but I wanted to be right next to him. Ours has been a sporting family and for me to play here is a very proud moment. So, I took a week off from commentary duties at the World Cup in Australia to be here,” said the senior Chopra.

Thomas, runner-up in 2018 at Sentosa, Singapore, was 1-under through 15 before he dropped a shot on 16th and then found water from the middle of the fairway for a double bogey in a card of 74. Arjun Gupta rallied from 3-over after three to even after 13 only to drop shots on 15th and 16th and finish 2-over. Shat Mishra was even par after 13 holes but then came two birdies and three bogeys including on eighth and ninth, his closing holes.

There will be a cut after 36 holes and the top 50 and ties will qualify for the final two rounds.