Monday, October 18, 2021

Jaipur Open golf: Khalin Joshi fires scorching 61 for first-round lead

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Jaipur, Oct 12 (IANS) Bengaluru golfer Khalin Joshi continued with his consistent run as he fired a scorching nine-under 61 to take the lead in round one of the Rs. 40 lakh Jaipur Open 2021 at the magnificent par-70 Rambagh Golf Club (RGC) here on Tuesday.

Joshi, who finished in the top-10 in the last two PGTI events including a runner-up finish in Delhi last week, knocked in an eagle and nine birdies in exchange for two bogeys on Tuesday.

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Rookie Kartik Sharma of Gurugram and M Dharma, another Bengaluru-based pro, struck error-free rounds of eight-under 62 consisting of an eagle and six birdies each to hold joint second position, according to a release by the PGTI on Tuesday.

Joshi sank some tough par putts at the start, which enabled him to judge the speed of the greens. He got going with consecutive birdies on the 12th, 13th, and 14th before recovering from the bunker for a birdie on the 17th followed by another birdie on the par-5 18th.

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After making the turn at an impressive four-under, Joshi pushed ahead with a birdie from close range on the second. His bogey on the third was negated by birdies on the fifth, sixth and seventh holes, all converted from a range of eight to 15 feet. The icing on the cake in his extraordinary round was the eagle on the par-5 eighth hole where he drained a 10-footer.

“I’m extremely satisfied with today’s effort. I feel I’m carrying forward the confidence from last week’s good finish. I also had a great practice round on Monday which got me in a good frame of mind. My game seems to be heading in the right direction as I feel my swing is in con’rol and I’m rolling the putts well,” said Joshi.

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“The two five-feet par putts at the start of my round today on the 10th and 11th were crucial as they helped me judge the speed of the greens. Thereafter, the consecutive birdies on the 12th, 13th, and 14th gave me the belief that I could shoot a low number today. I just decided to keep pushing from there on,” he added.

Kartik Sharma, fresh from top-10 finishes in the last three events, made some long conversions including a 40-footer for birdie on the ninth and a 15-feet eagle putt on the closing 18th. Sharma, who last played at the RGC as a junior golfer about four years back, also chipped in for birdie on the 15th.

M Dharma made a chip-in for eagle on the 14th. He came extremely close to adding two more eagles to his card on the 17th and eighth where he missed the hole by inches.

The Chandigarh duo of Harendra Gupta and Abhijit Singh Chadha were in tied fourth place with sco’es of 63. Kolkata’s Viraj Madappa, last week’s winner, occupied tied sixth place at 64 along with Gurugram golfers Veer Ahlawat and Dhruv Sheoran.

PGTI Order of Merit leader Karandeep Kochhar of Chandigarh was in tied ninth place after a round of 65. Olympian Udayan Mane returned a 66 to be tied 17th.

–IANS

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