Youngster Siddharth Seth & veteran Mukesh Kumar steal the show on day one
Twenty-three-year-old Siddharth Seth of Delhi and veteran Mukesh Kumar of Mhow emerged as joint leaders in round one of the PGTI Players Championship at Chandigarh Golf Club on Tuesday. Both the players fired identical scores of five-under-67 to steal the show on the opening day.
Siddharth Seth shot his best score since turning professional in early 2012 to grab a share of the lead. Seth had a tally of seven birdies and two bogeys in perfect weather conditions at the Chandigarh Golf Club. The professional from the Delhi Golf Club was off to a flying start with birdies on the second, fifth, sixth and seventh. He sank a 25-footer on the fifth and landed his third shot within five feet on the seventh. A missed chip-putt on the eighth resulted in Siddharth’s first bogey of the day.
Seth continued to surge ahead on the back-nine. He found the trees on the 10th but managed to get out of trouble with a marvelous second shot that landed 10 feet from the pin and handed him another birdie. Two more conversions from 10 feet helped him pick up strokes on the 13th and 16th holes. Siddharth, who is playing his second season as a professional, stumbled on the 18th where he made a three-putt for bogey.
Seth said, “I’m proud of today’s effort since it’s the best score of my professional career so far. I capitalized on my terrific start today as I was four-under after seven holes. I made some good chip-putts on the second, sixth, 13th and 16th and putted well except for the closing 18th.
“I think the seventh hole is one of the toughest on this course as the OB runs along the fairway on the right. However, I made a birdie there and that was a huge morale-booster. I’ve had decent results at this course as an amateur and therefore feel confident of performing well this week,” added Siddharth.
Mukesh Kumar, a multiple winner at the Chandigarh Golf Club, posted a bogey-free 67 to be right up there with Seth on the leaderboard. The 47-year-old sank a 20-footer for birdie on the fourth and landed his approach shots within five feet of the flag for birdies on the second, ninth and 16th. Mukesh ended the day on a high with a 10 feet birdie putt on the 18th.
Mukesh, who last won in Chandigarh in September 2010, said, “I hit my second and third shots with pin-point precision. My putting stroke has also improved compared to last season and I benefitted from that today. Importantly, I didn’t make any mistakes today and as a result went bogey-free.”
There is a six-way tie for third place at two-under-70 between Kapurthala’s Ashbeer Saini, Ranjit Singh of Chandigarh, reigning Rolex Rankings champion Shamim Khan of Delhi, Kolkata’s Feroz Ali Mollah, Bangalore golfer M Dharma and Abhinav Lohan of Faridabad.
Ashbeer Saini was the best performer among the rookies in round one. Saini, who idolizes another Kapurthala golfer Gaganjeet Bhullar, made six birdies against four bogeys on Tuesday. Ranjit Singh, tied third along with Ashbeer, was the highest-placed Chandigarh golfer on day one.
Defending champion Harendra Gupta and Rajinder, both hailing from Chandigarh, returned scores of 71 to be tied ninth along with Noida’s Arjun Singh Chaudhri, Sri Lankan K Prabagaran, Deepinder Singh Kullar from Gurgaon and rookies Khalin Joshi of Bangalore and Siddharth Semwal from Delhi.
Jeev reveals success mantra for rookies
Jeev Milkha Singh, taking a week’s break from his hectic international schedule, dropped in for a while at the Chandigarh Golf Club to enquire about his friend and coach Amritinder Singh’s round.
Jeev, a two-time Asia no. 1, revealed the key to success in professional golf for rookies making their debut on the PGTI this week. He said, “It’s great to see many talented youngsters turning professional this year. My advice to them would be to work hard, stay focused towards their game and believe in their abilities.”
The Chandigarh-based golfer, who is off to South Africa for a European Tour event next week, is looking forward to playing his next international event on home soil, the Avantha Masters in March.
“The Avantha Masters is now one of India’s biggest golfing events. This year’s edition promises to be a highly competitive one as the field will be stronger than ever before,” said Jeev.
Ghei all praise for playing partner Saini
Gaurav Ghei, who was playing in the same three-ball as rookie Ashbeer Saini, was all praise for the youngster Saini making his professional debut.
The seasoned Ghei, a three-time winner on the Asian Tour, said, “Ashbeer has a very mature head on his young shoulders. He hits the ball long and also has a good short-game. One gets to see glimpses of Gaganjeet Bhullar in Saini’s playing style since the latter has modeled his game on the former. Saini is definitely one to watch out for in the future.”
Formed in 2006, Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) is the recognised official body of professional golf in India. PGTI's objective is to promote professional golf in the country, as well as to give players an opportunity to be involved in the decision making on all aspects of the game. Headed by Mr. Srinivasan H R (President), PGTI's governing body comprises leading Indian golf professionals. PGTI currently has over 300 members.
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