Asian Tour event in India shortened amid severe smog

Gurgaon (India) (AFP) –


The Asian Tour event in smog-hit northern India was shortened to 54 holes Friday amid the severe weather conditions, as Thailand's Itthipat Buranatanyarat took a two-shot lead after the delayed first round.

Organisers of the four-day $400,000 tournament delayed the start of the event on Thursday "due to poor visibility and weather conditions", with the first rounds played on Friday.

Itthipat, wearing a face mask against the hazardous air pollution, fired an eight-under-par 64 on Thursday, with Indonesia's Danny Masrin just two shots adrift with a 66.

Myanmar's Ye Htet Aung, with his career-best score, and Australia's Terry Pilkadaris joined Masrin on 66 after completing their rounds on Friday.

Nine Indians were tied-fifth after recording 67s.

"I kept all distractions out and was solely focused on making good shots today," Aung said.

"I'm really happy as this is possibly my lowest round I had on Tour. I've been playing well."

A four-tee start was scheduled for Saturday's second round with the third and final round to be played on Sunday.

The first edition of the Panasonic Open was played in 2011, with Indian players winning seven of the previous eight tournaments.