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Golf: Local challenger Akshay Sharma leads round one with eight-under 64
Panchkula, November 4, 2020
Akshay Sharma (Chandigarh) shot eight-under-64 to take the round one honours at the Tata Steel PGTI Players Championship here at Panchkula Golf Club on Wednesday.
Asian Tour regular Chikkarangappa of Bengaluru was in second place at six-under 66.
While the two leading scores came from the Panchkula Golf Club, Kolkata’s Sunit Chowrasia recorded the day’s best score at Chandigarh Golf Club, a five-under 67, to occupy third place on the leaderboard.
Sharma, a former winner on the PGTI in 2018, got off the blocks with an error-free round. The 30-year-old’s good placement on the fairways and greens at Panchkula set up five birdie putts within a range of three to four feet for him, which he went on to convert. He also sank three long birdie putts of 12 to 15 feet.
“I was quite accurate today as I found all fairways and made 17 greens in regulation. It got a little windy on the back-nine but I still managed five birdies there. thanks to my good ball-striking" said the leader.
“Playing at Panchkula was the bigger challenge for me as Chandigarh is my home course. I didn’t expect to go so low here, so this score is like a bonus for me as I’m confident of doing well in Chandigarh tomorrow," he said.
Chikkarangappa, a 13-time winner on the PGTI, also got off to a splendid start on Wednesday but had a contrasting round as compared to Sharma’s. Chikka sank nine birdies in exchange for three bogeys in a round where he made some tremendous recoveries after finding the hazard or the trees on at least four occasions. He also performed well with the putter draining four birdies from a range of 12 to 15 feet.
Chikkarangappa said, “I scrambled well today, made some quality up and downs and holed some tricky putts from 13 to 14 feet. The highlight of my round though would be the par save on the 11th where I found my ball in the hazard and struck a couple of good shots from there to salvage the hole. That gave me the momentum to pick up three more birdies thereafter."
While Sunit Chowrasia produced the best effort at Chandigarh with his six birdies and a solitary bogey, local favourite Karandeep Kochhar shot a 68 at the same venue to be tied fourth along with Gurugram’s Manu Gandas.
Among the prominent names, Chandigarh’s Aadil Bedi and Patna’s Aman Raj were tied sixth with scores of 69, Delhi-based Rashid Khan (70) was tied 13th, Udayan Mane (71) of Pune, the PGTI Order of Merit leader was tied 20th, Chandigarh’s Ajeetesh Sandhu (72) was tied 29th and Khalin Joshi (74) and Viraj Madappa (74) were both tied 47th.
The tournament is being played across two venues in close proximity - Panchkula Golf Club (in Haryana) and Chandigarh Golf Club – both located in the Chandigarh Tricity region.
As per the format for the event, one half of the field will play their first round at Panchkula while the other half will play their first round at Chandigarh. In round two, both the halves of the field will switch venues. The third and fourth rounds will only be played at Panchkula.