Derksen leads fog-delayed Avantha Masters over Beck, Foster and Zapata

robert-jan derksen
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If he wins this week, Robert-Jan Derksen is planning a special trip with the trophy.
PA Sport


Published: Thursday, February 17, 2011 | 11:29 a.m.

Robert-Jan Derksen took a one-shot lead after a truncated first day's play in the European Tour’s Avantha Masters on Thursday.

After a 3 1/2-hour delay to allow fog to clear, the Dutchman set the pace with a bogey-free, six-under-par round of 66.


The second edition of the Avantha Masters is co-sanctioned by the European Tour, Asian Tour and Professional Golf Tour of India.

Derksen then revealed he has an extra incentive to triumph at this week's tournament, which is jointly sanctioned by the European, Indian and Asian Tours.

"I've got a bet with my caddie that if we win this week we'll take the trophy to the Taj Mahal,” he said. “But I need to win first, of course. I've never been and I think this is a great occasion to make that happen."

However, with half the field still to complete their first rounds, there could yet be a new name at the top when the second round begins late on Friday morning. The most likely candidate is Australian Darren Beck, who had advanced to 5 under par with five holes still to play when darkness fell.

Also on 5 under in the clubhouse were Englishman Mark Foster and Argentina's Julio Zapata. Foster, who has not won on the European Tour since 2003, carded an eagle at the 15th before holing a 20-foot birdie putt on the eighth.

Among a six-strong group on 4r under were last year's runner-up Richard Finch, who was on a drip Thursday morning after a bout of Delhi belly, and home players Jeev Milkha Singh and Rashid Khan. Singh found the water early on and was 2 over after seven holes, but four birdies and a closing eagle on the par-5 ninth brought him into contention.

The shot of the day came from Derksen's compatriot Maarten Lafeber, who recorded a hole-in-one at the 11th. That followed four birdies on the front nine, but a disappointing end to his round saw him slip back to 3 under.

"I aimed a little right of the pin to allow the wind to bring it in and hit it perfectly,” said the 36-year-old Lafeber, who won a Volvo for his achievement. "It was going straight for the flag but we couldn't tell if it was in or just very close. We were all looking and wondering until the crowd started clapping and jumping around so then we knew that it was in.

"It's nice to win the car but I was really upset when I finished the round because I missed three really short ones from less than three feet during my final holes and it ruined my score,” he added. "I was 6 under and played really nicely all day and just putted horrendously."

Defending champion Andrew Dodt of Australia was level par after seven holes but Ireland's Paul McGinley endured a miserable start to his round with a triple bogey on the first and was 3 over after eight.