Error-free yoga devotee scores 62, while drawcards Harrington and Zhang have slow start to tournament Yoga devotee Amandeep Johl cleared his mind of worldly distractions long enough to glimpse the light and shoot a record-breaking nine-under-par 62 to take a one-stroke lead at the end of the first round in the US$275,000 Macau Open yesterday. The faithful follower of the ancient mystic art of yoga, or yogi as he prefers to call it, saw everything fall into place - in his mind as well as out on the picturesque par-71 course at the Macau Golf and Country Club - as he stormed to a course record and grabbed the early honours. 'The key today was that I didn't let my mind get in the way. The key was not to think. I have been practising yogi, as it is actually pronounced, for a long time and this helps you to learn to be detached. And together with the good conditions out there, it helped me today,' said Johl. Surprisingly, Johl has not pulled away from the rest of the field after his superb performance where he produced an eagle and seven birdies in an error-free round. Although breaking Australian Adam Fraser's old mark of 63, also set in the first round last year, Johl only managed to eke out a one-shot lead over South African Nico van Rensburg who shot 63. Thailand's Thaworn Wiratchant was in third place on 64. Tournament drawcard Padraig Harrington was seven shots off the pace after a cautious two-under-par 69 while two-time winner Zhang Lianwei of China, struggling to make his putts count, 70. Meanwhile, after attaining the golfing equivalent of nirvana last week, Indian Rahil Gangjee fell back to earth when he shot a 73. Gangjee, who won his first professional career title, the inaugural Beijing Masters, last Sunday, fell victim to two double bogeys on par-three holes yesterday. The opening day at this 10th leg of the Asian Tour belonged to playing partners Johl and Van Rensburg. Of the duo, Van Rensburg was the faster out of the blocks as he began with four birdies from the first four holes while Johl could only pocket two, at the par-five second hole and par-three fourth. But Johl moved into top gear at the eighth, a 373-yard par-four, when he hit a sand-wedge from 60 yards to eagle the hole. 'That got me started. It was a lot of fun out there with Nico and me setting the pace. This is the lowest score in my career. I once shot 63. Unfortunately I had a chance to birdie the last hole but failed. But I'm not complaining. I'm happy with what I got,' said Johl with the satisfied look of a man who is at peace with the world. Yoga does that. Golf does the opposite. You can tear your hair out in frustration when things go wrong. Not that it did go wrong for Harrington who, making his debut in Macau, shot a steady first round. But he was less than pleased with it. 'You could say it was boring golf. I just played too steady. I needed to be a bit more erratic for you make more birdies that way. I only birdied three holes today. I'm not pleased,' said Harrington. Like Johl, Harrington too believes yoga is good for golf - but he does not practise as much as he would like to. 'I know a lot of players do yoga but I just don't have the time to do it. But I would like to do it more regularly,' says Harrington, the world number eight. So if yoga does truly remove potential pitfalls and distractions from the mind, we ask Johl why is it that he has still not won a tournament in 10 years of playing on the Asian circuit - or to go one step further, why hasn't India, the land that gave the world yoga, produced a golf champion equivalent to, say, cricket's Sachin Tendulkar. 'It has to come,' answers Johl who does two hours of yoga every morning. 'I have never won on the Asian circuit because golf is a funny game. I'm not expecting anything tomorrow. I will just go out and enjoy myself.' As for the bigger picture surrounding the state of golf in India, Johl says his country has already produced stars like Arjun Atwal - currently playing on the USPGA Tour - and Jyoti Randhawa. 'The problem in India is that we don't have the support which a sport like cricket gets. We need more golf courses and more corporate support. We even get taxed on our equipment. The system is an obstacle, but golf has become fashionable in India and I believe it won't be long before we become a real force,' Johl said. Harrington is already a firm believer that Asia in general will be the breeding ground of future Major champions. 'It won't be long before an Asian wins a Major. The Asians are getting better. They must now find the confidence in their own game, especially when they travel outside Asia. It is a question of bringing their 'A' game abroad, for the quality of play is already here,' said Harrington.