Pune: Rookie Sameer M Shaikh of the Poona Club Golf Course and Arshpreet Thind who hails from the Classic Golf Resort in Mewat, Haryana, shot career-best scores of five-under-66 to share the lead in round one of the PGTI Players Championship. Deepinder Singh Kullar of the DLF Golf & Country Club, Gurgaon, fired a four-under-67 to be placed third.
Sameer M Shaikh, the surprise package of the day, was on fire on the front-nine of his home course as he collected four birdies and an eagle to make the turn at six under. Sameer picked up his first birdie on the second after landing it within five feet with his tee-shot. He then chipped-in on the third and hit an excellent approach on the sixth to add two more birdies to his card.
The 21-year-old Shaikh, playing only his second professional event, holed a 17-feet putt after finding the green in two to earn an eagle on the seventh. He followed that up with his second chip-in of the day for birdie on the ninth. The Pune lad’s lone bogey came on the 12th.
“My chipping and putting was spot-on today. The local knowledge helped me today as I read the greens well. I got my confidence going with a good practice round on Monday. It’s very important to putt well on this course in order to shoot a low score. I’ll continue to concentrate on my putting so that I can make an impact in the remaining rounds,” said Sameer, who turned professional earlier this year.
Arshpreet Thind sank a 15-footer to birdie the second. A bogey followed on the third but Thind regained momentum with an 18-feet conversion for birdie on the fourth. The 29-year-old Arshpreet then hit his approach shots within four to six feet to set up birdies on the sixth, eighth, ninth and 17th.
“I hit it well and as a result had 17 regulations. I converted all my putts on the front-nine but couldn’t do the same on the back-nine even though I was rolling them well. I’m delighted to have shot my best score since turning professional. It’s about rolling it well on this course and converting as many putts as possible,” said the burly Thind, who has probably the strongest handshake among all the Indian professionals.
Deepinder Singh Kullar was placed third as his round of 67 included six birdies and two bogeys. Meerut’s Amardip Singh Malik and the Delhi duo of Manav Jaini and Karan Vasudeva were in joint fourth at three-under-68.
Sanjay Kumar of Lucknow made a hole-in-one on the 13th. Sanjay carded a two-under-69 to be tied seventh.
By Indian Sports News Network