Players C’ship: Srinivas enjoys opening round lead

R SrinivasChandigarh: R Srinivas of Bangalore produced a sizzling 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.