Fighting to be fit in time with an injured wrist earlier this week, 28-year-old Bengaluru golfer, Khalin Joshi, kept his cool to grab the lead with an opening round of six-under-66 on the opening day of the Jeev Milkha Singh invitational being played at Chandigarh Golf Club.
Joshi, who carded two eagles, five birdies apart from two bogeys, had his best round in the last one month at Chandigarh Golf Club and ended the day with a one-shot lead over fellow Benglauru golfer, M Dharma and Chandigarh golfer, Akshay Sharma.
“I had injured my wrist before coming to Chandigarh and had even thought of withdrawing from the tournament. But the physio helped me to drop the idea. I am very happy with the way I hit the ball today. I started from the back-nine and the birdie on the tenth hole set the momentum for me. I feel that my putting was not best today and I struggled with my putting in patches. The two bogeys did spoil some of the good work, but I am glad to be in lead and defending it over the next three rounds,” said Joshi, who made an eagle on the 13th and second hole.
Dharma, who too started the day from the back-nine, made a bogey on the tenth hole before recovering to sink a birdie each on the 13th and 14th hole respectively. The 34-year-old golfer sank another two consecutive birdies on the 16th and 17th hole respectively before sinking two birdies on the front-nine to finish the day with a score of five-under-65. Akshay Sharma too carded a opening round of five-under-67 to share the second spot with Dharma. Sharma, who started the day from the front-nine, sank two birdies on the front-nine before making a bogey on the tenth hole. Sharma, who won the PGTI Players Championship co-hosted by Panchkula Golf Club and Chandigarh Golf Club last month, carded his ninth consecutive sub-par round since the PGTI Tour season restarted last month. “The start was not good for me as I was not hitting the ball well. It got windy as I started my round and I struggled a bit. The fact that I hit only 12 greens in regulation yet ended with an opening round score of five-under-67 means that my putting saved the day for me. The 12-yard putt to convert a birdie on the third hole and the 15-yard putt on eighth hole gave me the momentum. I will be playing in the morning in the second round and I hope to gain from non-windy conditions early in the day,” said Sharma.
24-year-old Delhi golfer, Veer Ahlawat, carded an opening round score of four-under-68 to share the fourth place along with Amardeep Singh Malik. Ahlawat, who had four sub-par rounds in his last eight rounds since last one month, sank three consecutive birdies on the first three holes before a bogey on the seventh hole meant that he ended the front-nine on two-under-34. The back-nine saw Ahlawat returning with three birdies and a bogey to finish the day with four-under-68. “After the three consecutive birdies on the start, I lost the momentum but the birdies on the 12th and 13th hole respectively made sure that I ended the day on a high. There was no wind when I was playing on the front-nine but the wind picked up pace during the back-nine. Adjusting to the wind in the next three rounds will be key,” he shared.
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Panchkula golfer Angad Cheema tied-sixth with Bengaluru golfers Anirban lahiri and S Chikkarangappa apart from Shabeg Singh Kooner and Abhinav Lohan. Tournament host and 14-time International winner Jeev Milkha Singh was placed tied-68th with an opening round score of three-over-75.
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