Gurgaon: Playing as if on another level altogether, Puwit Anupansuebsai of Thailand stole the show on the first day of the 3rd Albatross International Junior Golf Championship India, at the ITC Classic Golf Resort.
Two years back, in the inaugural edition of the event, Puwit won category ‘D’ by an eye-popping 24 strokes. On his return to the Jack Nicklaus Signature, the precocious young Thai opened proceedings with a splendid five-under 67, to lead category ‘C’ by a comfortable seven shots. Puwit’s spirited golf also helped him to the overall lead – some achievement for a 12-year-old. Rayhan Thomas from Dubai and India’s Adil Bir Singh (74 each) were a distant second, while Amrita Anand (75) took early honours in the girls’ competition in category 'C'.
Meanwhile, Seher Atwal led the way for the hosts with a steady even-par 72 in category ‘B’ – third overall in the category, and second best among the girls, behind gifted Chinese Wu Sha (71). Sarit Suwannarut’s three-under 69 gave him a two-shot advantage at the end of the opening day. Jairaj Singh Sandhu (74) was the leading Indian boy in the category (sixth overall).
In category ‘A’, no-one managed to break par, with the home threesome of Manu Gandas, Rohan Govil and Abhishek Kuhar sharing the lead on 74. Japan’s Ayaka Nakayama, ranked number one on the Hank Haney International Junior Golf Tour this season, was the highest placed girl (category ‘A’) after a 75.
Thais also ruled in category ‘D’, with Thanapol Aphinyawutthikul (boys) carding a 75 and Onkanok Soisuwan (girls) a 76, to stand atop the leader-board. Alongside Onkanok were three Indians – Manav Bais, Aadil Bedi and Digraj Singh Gill. And in category ‘E’ (nine holes), Shubham (38) and Anika Verma (43) got a head start in the eight-man field.