CG Open: Udayan Mane shines in round one with six-under-64

Udayan Mane Round 1 leader CG Open 2015Mumbai: Udayan Mane of Bengaluru seized the round one lead at the Rs. 1 crore CG Open 2015 with a superb six-under-64. Abhinav Lohan of Faridabad and Greater Noida’s Mandeo Singh Pathania were in tied second, one off the lead.

Udayan Mane, currently placed fifth in the Rolex Ranking, smashed seven birdies against a lone bogey during his opening round on Wednesday. The 24-year-old rookie, already a winner of two tournaments this year, had a birdie-bogey start on the 10th and 11th. He sank a 20-footer on the 10th before pulling his tee shot into the trees on the 11th that led to his only bogey of the day. Udayan then made a tremendous par save on 15 after almost landing his drive out of bounds. Mane recovered with a spectacular up and down from 60 yards on the 15th to get his round going.

Mane was two-on on the par-5s 16th, 18th and first, that helped him gain three strokes. The well-built six-footer from the Eagleton Golf Resort picked up three more birdies from there on. He came back well after a poor approach on the fourth to make a good up and down for birdie. Udayan finally converted a mammoth 30-footer on the sixth for his final birdie of the day.

Mane said, “I’m delighted with this effort as the conditions were tougher in the afternoon due to the swirling wind. It wasn’t easy to judge distances. The good par save on the 15th really got my round going. I made birdies on all four par-5s having found the green in two shots on three out of four occasions. I made some long putts as well including one from 30 feet on the sixth which I ‘buried’. I did well to get out of trouble on a few holes.

“I enjoy a certain degree of comfort on this course since I played a lot of golf here during my junior days when I stayed in Union Park, Chembur, for two years. The course has undergone renovation since then but I still feel at home here. In fact, as an amateur I finished runner-up here thrice.

“The course is playing fantastic from tee to green and it’s a matter of creating maximum birdie opportunities,” he added.

Abhinav Lohan, still looking for his first professional win, produced a brace of birdies early in the round on the 12th and 13th where he sank putts from seven and 10 feet respectively. A poor chip led to his first bogey of the day on the 16th. The 25-year-old Lohan then had a dream run of three birdies and an eagle over the next four holes to gain five shots.

Abhinav, who plays at the DLF Golf & Country Club in Gurgaon, made 15-footers for birdie on the 17th and eagle on the first. He also landed his tee shot within a foot for birdie on the second. Lohan made a couple of errors in his short game that cost him bogeys on the fourth and sixth before making a last birdie on the seventh.

Lohan, the 2010 Asian Games silver medalist, said, “It’s a pretty satisfying start to the week. The big positive of the day was the eight birdies I made today. I can’t complain after shooting a five-under but the manner in which I dropped bogeys really hurt. The 15-feet eagle putt was the highlight of the round. A couple of poor chip shots cost me bogeys on the 16th and fourth.

“I had some decent top-20 finishes in the first half of the season but the two top-10s in October were a huge confidence-booster and got me in the mix this season. The runner-up finish in Pune recently got the momentum going for me. The focus over the next three days will be to try and create birdie opportunities by hitting maximum greens.”

Mandeo Singh Pathania, the 2010 CG Open champion, who spent the summer playing competitive golf in Canada, had an eventful opening round of 65. Pathania narrowly missed a hole-in-one on the opening 10th hole where his tee shot hit the flag and set up a tap-in birdie. He picked up four more birdie against a bogey on the first nine to make the turn at four-under.

Mandeo collected birdies on the first, third and sixth to move to seven-under for the day but bogeys on the eighth and ninth played spoilers for him.

Mandeo said, “It was a good ball-striking day for me. I landed it close through the day and found the green in two on three of the four par-5s. I didn’t putt well though. Nonetheless, I have some good memories of this course since I won here back in 2010. I will look to use that to my advantage.”

Lucknow’s Sanjeev Kumar, Delhi’s Vinod Kumar and Sri Lankan N Thangaraja were in tied fourth at four-under-66.

The Mumbai duo of Anil Bajrang Mane (two-over-72) and Wilson Raj D’Mello (four-over-74) were in tied 63rd and tied 79th place respectively.