Vikram Rana shot a 3-under 68 to emerge as the leader after the first round of the Tata Steel Western India Open Golf Championship being played at the par-71 Poona Club Golf Course here on Tuesday.
The experienced amateur from ONGC was leading by a solitary stroke from Samarth Dwivedi with Amul Waghmare in the third position, two shots off the leader.
HS Kang was fourth at 71 while as many as six players - Shailendra Sandhu, Trishul Chinnappa, Feroz Singh Garewal, Pranav Mardikar, Ainesh Ahluwalia, Syed Saqib Ahmed shared the fifth spot at 72.
Vikram a 10th tee starter was off to a perfect beginning making a birdie on the par-4 10th.
However, a bogey on the par-5 12th and a double on the par-3 13th set him back. But the lean amateur made a strong comeback with three birdies in the next five holes (14th, 16thand 18th) without any errors to take the turn at 1-under.
Vikram began the back nine with a blunder losing a stroke on the very first hole. However, that was his last mistake of the day as he resurrected his round with consecutive birdies on the fifth and sixth while adding one more on the par-4 eighth to end up on top of the leaderboard.
"I am happy to assume the leadership," Vikram said.
"I was playing really well with my irons and putter helping me a lot," he said.
"It is too early to predict but I would definitely want to end up as the winner," he added.
68 Vikram Rana; 69 Samarth Dwivedi; 70 Amul Waghmare; 71 HS Kang; 72 Shailendra Sandhu, Trishul Chinnappa, Feroz Singh Garewal, Pranav Mardikar, Ainesh Ahluwalia, Syed Saqib Ahmed; 73 Kailash Dhiwa, Manav Das, SK Lakra, Arjun Singh, Udayan Mane