Kolkata, 21-03-2024

Indian duo of Veer Ahlawat and Udayan Mane share day one lead at Kolkata Challenge



Udayan Mane and Veer Ahlawat share a one stroke lead after the opening round of the Kolkata Challenge at Royal Calcutta Golf Club.

The Indian duo impressed on home soil, posting five under par rounds of 67, one shot clear of 11 others, including last week’s Delhi Challenge winner John Parry.

Mane mixed two birdies with one bogey on the front nine before adding four more birdies, including three in a row from the 15th, to set the pace from the morning starters.

The 33-year-old, who currently sits 17th on this season’s TATA STEEL PGTI (Professional Golf Tour of India) Rankings, says accuracy off the tee was key to his strong start to the week.

“I kept the ball in play where it lies well, and I hit a lot of greens,” he said. “There are 108 hazards around here and in the 18 holes if you don’t hit any of them, you’re doing something right.

“The three birdies in a row at the end of my round was nice. The course does lend itself to that on those three holes, but it’s just good to make it count.

“I also made some good momentum saves and a few nice birdies. I was out of position on a couple of holes, but I made birdie on one and managed to make par on the other.”

Ahlawat carded three birdies and one eagle to go bogey-free and join countryman Mane at the top of the leaderboard late on day one.

The 27-year-old finished sixth at Royal Calcutta in the SSP Chawrasia Invitational presented by TAKE Sports last year, and thinks course knowledge gave him an advantage on day one.

“Because I’ve played here over the last few years, I know where to miss, and where you can attack certain flags,” he said. “A few of the flags are tricky and the different grains on the greens are tough too, which can make it difficult to read putts.

“I hit 17 greens in regulation, holed a few good putts, and just missed one short putt, but apart from that my round was very smooth. I had a really solid striking day.

“I think I hit it really well off the tee and that is what made it easier for me. To shoot a low round on this course, you have to keep it in play.”

Englishman Parry shares third place on four under par with countrymen Brandon Robinson-Thompson and Andrew Wilson, Frenchmen Robin Sciot-Siegrist and Andoni Etchenique, India's Akshay Sharma, Austrian Maximilian Steinlechner, Dane Rasmus Neergaard-Petersen, Swede Charlie Lindh and Dutchman Wil Besseling.

About PGTI:

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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