five-under-67 to claim the first round lead at the PGTI Players
Championship being played at the Chandigarh Golf Club. Chandigarh’s
Harendra Gupta and the Delhi duo of Shamim Khan and Naman Dawar are in
joint second at four-under-68.
R Srinivas had an exceptional opening round thanks to his brilliant
short-game. His first birdie of the day came on the second hole where
he chipped it to within a few inches. This was followed by a 15-feet
birdie putt on the third. The bogey on the fourth did not prove too
costly for Srinivas as he came back strongly with a brilliant
eight-iron shot to set up a birdie on the eighth.
The short and stocky Srinivas, who is yet to win his maiden
professional title, collected three birdies in a row from the 11th
through the 13th to take his score to five under. He chipped-in from
the bunker on the 11th and then missed an eagle by a whisker with his
nine-iron approach shot on the 12th. Srinivas garnered his final
birdie of the day on the 13th by sinking a 15-feet putt.
Srinivas said, “With the wind being up, club-selection wasn’t easy.
I’m delighted to have shot my best score of the season so far despite
the tough conditions. The highlight of my round was my excellent
chipping and putting. I also hit it quite close with my short-irons.”
Harendra Gupta did not have the best of starts as he bogeyed the
opening hole after a poor tee-shot. Gupta, however, picked up three
birdies in quick succession on the second, third and fifth to move to
two under. He converted a 25-footer on the third.
Harendra carried on the good work on the back-9. He sank a 15-feet
birdie putt on the 15th and then landed his chip from 15 yards to
within four feet for another birdie on the 17th.
Gupta said, “I’ve made a good start to the week. I generally play well
at my home course and therefore the confidence is high this week. I
hit some decent approach shots today and also putted well. It was
windy in the second half of the day but I hung in there and didn’t
give away any shots.”
Shamim Khan knocked down 15-feet birdie putts on the second and 12th
and landed it within a foot of the pin for birdie on the 17th in his
round of 68. He had two other birdies and a bogey.
Naman Dawar joined Harendra and Shamim in joint second after he made
an eagle, five birdies and three bogeys in the opening round thanks to
his superb ball-striking.
Manish Goyal, Rashid Khan, Shankar Das, Raju Ali Mollah and M Dharma
are in tied fifth with matching scores of three-under-69.
Shankar Das of Kolkata and Sameer M Shaikh of Pune fired a hole-in-one
each on the eighth hole.