New Delhi, India (SportsNetwork.com) - S.S.P. Chawrasia, Richard T. Lee, Chapchai Nirat, Siddikur Rahman and Joakim Lagergren all shot matching 6-under 65s in Thursday's first round and they share a 2-shot lead at the Hero Indian Open.
Chawrasia has collected two career victories on the European Tour at the 2008 Indian Masters and the 2011 Avantha Masters, while the other four co-leaders have never won on tour.
Mithun Perera and Kalem Richardson both fired 4-under 67s at Delhi Golf Club and the duo is tied for sixth.
Thanyakon Khrongpha, Scott Barr, Danny Chia, Prayad Marksaeng, Lionel Weber, Mikko Korhonen and Jazz Janewattananond opened with 3-under 68s, putting them in a tie for eighth and three shots back of the leaders.
Chawrasia, looking to win for the third time on his home soil, played the back nine first and started off with a pair of pars on 10 and 11 before rolling in his first birdie of the day on the par-3 12th.
After ripping off four straight pars from 13, Chawrasia made the turn in a big way with three consecutive birdies from No. 17. Chawrasia then had another stretch of four straight pars from No. 2.
Entering the final four holes at 4-under, Chawrasia made two birdies on six and eight to go along with pars on seven and nine to finish up his bogey-free round.
"I played very well and was bogey-free," said Chawrasia. "I made some good putts and was hitting it good off the tees. It looked easy but it wasn't. I've played here many times so I know how to play this course. Richard (Lee) was playing well so it was fun to play with him."
Lee, playing in the same group as Chawrasia, made birdies on 11 and 12 to kick off his round. He later finished up the back nine, his front, with birdies on 15 and 17.
It was more of the same on the finishing nine for Lee as he poured in gains at the first and sixth along with seven pars.
"It's a really challenging course out there so to finish the day with six birdies and no bogeys is some pretty good golf," Lee said. "You have to hit the right shots at the right times and I managed to make a few putts too. I like playing tight courses like this one."
Nirat got going early with birdies on one and two, getting him into red numbers right away. He then rattled off eight straight pars from No. 3 and made the turn at minus-2.
The back nine was big for Nirat as he made three birdies in a four-hole stretch from No. 11. Following a trio of pars from 15, Nirat converted a birdie at the last to join the leaders at minus-6.
After making birdie at the first, Rahman settled into his round with five straight pars from two. He then made back-to-back birdies on seven and eight before making the turn with three straight pars from nine.
Rahman split up his back nine nicely with birdies on 12, 15 and 18 along with six pars.
Lagergren, playing the back nine first, made three straight pars from 10 before rolling in a trio of birdies from 13.
The Swede did it again with three straight gains from No. 18, getting him up to 6-under on the day. Lagergren tripped to his only bogey on No. 4, but a birdie on seven got him back on track as he finished with two pars on eight and nine.
NOTES: This is the 51st staging of the Hero Indian Open but it is the first on the European Tour ... Chawrasia won the 2008 Indian Masters on the same course he is playing this week ... Lagergren was the only player out of the leaders to make a bogey on Thursday ... Chawrasia's other victory at the Avantha Masters was also in India.