Samarth Dwivedi leads round one of Kensville Open 2017

Samarth Dwivedi Round 1 leaderAhmedabad: Samarth Dwivedi of Allahabad took the opening round honours at the Kensville Open 2017 presented by PGTI being played at the Kensville Golf & Country Club in Ahmedabad. Dwivedi shot a five-under-67 on Tuesday to lead by one at the Rs. 40 lakh event.

Kolkata’s Shankar Das, Nagpur’s Moinuddin Malak and Delhi’s Honey Baisoya were tied second with matching scores of four-under-68.

Samarth Dwivedi took a liking to the Kensville Golf & Country Club course on day one as he knocked in six birdies at the expense of a solitary bogey. Playing only his second season as a professional, the 25-year-old had a steady start as he made pars on the first seven holes before coming up with his first birdie on the eighth after landing it close.

Dwivedi, who has two top-10s to his credit in the 2017 PGTI season, picked up the pace on the back-nine. He birdied the 10th and followed that up with another three birdies in a row from the 13th to the 15th. Samarth dropped his first shot of the day on the 17th but more than made up with a spectacular birdie conversion from 20 feet on the 18th that gave him the sole lead.

Dwivedi, who has claimed three top-10 results since turning professional last year, said, “I started off solid, hitting greens but missing putts. But once I got my first birdie and was in red figures, I knew had the momentum.

“The key was the back to back pars on the first seven holes. Generally, when I miss birdies I tend to get frustrated and drop shots. Today, I just stayed calm and let the first birdie come without dropping a shot.

“I’ve played here at Kensville once before but the course conditions this time are quite different due to the recent rains. It’s important to keep the ball on the fairway otherwise birdies are hard to come by.

“My rookie season last year was decent, even though I didn’t perform up to my own expectations. But I only played 10 tournaments since I had a wrist injury. It’s good to come back and shoot a low round to get into contention. It sets you up in a good place both physically and mentally.

“I’m now really looking forward to my first professional win. I waited some time for my first win as an amateur but after I posted my first win, it really changed my outlook on the tour. I guess the same could happen after my first win on the PGTI,” added Samarth, who spends a significant part of the year in his second home Singapore.

Moinuddin Malak was off to a dream start making birdies on his first two holes, the 10th and 11th. Malak, who just missed two greens in the round, made the turn at a strong three-under. Moin, returning from a six-month break from golf due to a back injury, had a rock-solid front-nine with a birdie and eight pars.

Malak said, “I had a terrific start. The goal was to hit as many greens as possible and I did that. I was consistent throughout and made some quality chip-putts.

“It’s a great start considering I’ve been away from competitive golf for six months. I’ve recovered from my injury, changed my equipment and worked on my swing. I’m hitting it better with my new clubs and everything seems to be falling back into place.

“My putting and my iron-play are my strengths at the moment. The key at this venue is to be patient. It’s a course where any hole can catch you. One can’t afford to be relaxed at any stage.”

Shankar Das produced an eagle and five birdies against three bogeys during his opening round.

Delhi’s Honey Baisoya was four-under through 17 holes before his birdie putt from 10 feet lipped out on the 18th. He thus missed out on the joint lead and had to settle for a share of second place along with Malak and Das.

Noida golfers Amardip Sinh Malik and Arjun Singh Chaudhri were tied for fifth at three-under-69.

Bengaluru’s Khalin Joshi was in tied seventh at two-under-70 while PGTI Order of Merit leader Shamim Khan of Delhi occupied tied 19th place at even-par-72.