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Indian Open: Anirban Lahiri, SSP Chawrasia struggle on day 1

SSP Chawrasia plays a shot during the first round of the Hero Indian Open at DLF Golf and Country Club on March 9, 2017 in New Delhi, India. Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Defending champion SSP Chawrasia and last year's runner-up Anirban Lahiri made disappointing starts on the opening day of the 2017 Indian Open, with the latter finishing tied-97 in a first round cut short due to lightening on Thursday in New Delhi.

SSP Chawrasia and Chiragh Kumar were both at one-under through 15 and 11 holes respectively when play was stopped due to fading light.

Anirban Lahiri, the 2015 champion, returned a four-over-76 featuring five birdies, four bogeys, a double-bogey and a triple-bogey.

"I was playing well at the start but a couple of times just waiting on hitting my shot threw me off my rhythm. One instance was on the 18th when I stood on the tee for a long time and couldn't make up my mind whether to draw or cut the ball. I ended up making a bad swing there. That led to a double-bogey," Lahiri said.

"After the 18th, I just couldn't find my rhythm. But I feel I've got enough in me to fight back. I'll have to play error-free as there were a lot of errors today around the greens and off the tee," he added.

A total of 41 Indians are in the field at the Indian Open.

While Italian Matteo Manassero emerged clubhouse leader at four-under-68 on the weather-interrupted opening day, Shubhankar Sharma, Rahil Gangjee and amateur Rigel Fernandes, shot scores of even-par-72 to be the highest-placed among the Indians.

The threat of lightning led to suspension of play for 90 minutes on Thursday between 1515 hrs and 1645 hrs IST. As a result, only 78 players out of a total of 144 could complete their rounds.

Englishman David Horsey, who could complete only 15 holes on Thursday would challenge for the first round lead come Friday as he was sitting at five-under.

Chawrasia, who struggled with his short putts in round one, made two birdies and a bogey through his 15 holes.

"It's a good start as one expects it to be a high-scoring week. I didn't drop any shots on the front-nine but missed at least four birdie opportunities from close range. The birdie miss from three feet on the eighth was a disappointing one. I feel that is the toughest par-5 hole and a birdie there would've really lifted my confidence," said Chawrasia, who could become the first player to defend the title since Jyoti Randhawa in 2007.

"The weather interruption didn't really bother me. In fact my round took off after the break. I made two eight feet birdie conversions on the 12th and 15th after play resumed.

Chiragh Kumar, a former Asian Tour winner mixed three birdies with two bogeys on the 11 holes that he played on Thursday.

Rahil Gangjee, another former Asian Tour winner, came up with five birdies, three bogeys and a double bogey during his 72 on day one.

Among the other prominent Indian names, who completed their rounds on Thursday, were Shiv Kapur (73), Rashid Khan (73), Gaganjeet Bhullar (74), Arjun Atwal (74), Anirban Lahiri (76) and Jeev Milkha Singh (85).