KARACHI: Lahore’s Ahmed Baig fired a stunning round of six-under 66 to provide a perfect start to Faldo Series Pakistan 2018 here at the Defence Authority Country and Golf Club.
While Ahmed’s bogey-free round in the Under-21 category headlined day one of the three-day tournament, DHA’s 13-year-old Omar Khalid hogged the limelight in the under-16 event in which he took the pole position ahead of more experienced and higher-rated opponents. He was tied for the first position in the most well-attended contest with Lahore’s Damil Ataullah.
In the Under-18 event, M Saqib was in full flow as he carded one-under 71 to take a three-shot lead over Junaid Irfan (74).Defending champion Aanya Farooq made a perfect start to her title defence in the girls’ category with a superb round of 76.
The star of the day was Ahmed Baig, who is widely regarded as one of the brightest prospects for Pakistan golf. He was in his element as he exploited perfect playing conditions to play a memorable round.
Ahmed birdied holes 5,6,8,11,16 and 18 as he took a nine-shot lead over his nearest rival Saim Shazli (75). Only seven players are taking part in the Under-21 category in which DHA’s Vivek Anand is in third place with 78.
The hottest contest is expected to be fought in the Boys under-16 category in which 31 youngsters are taking part.Omar Khalid, a Grade 8 student of Froebel Education Centre (FEC) made three birdies on his way to an impressive 77. He had birdies on holes 2,4 and 14. However four consecutive bogeys on the last four holes spoiled his card.
Damil, 15, also returned with a similar card though there was some “confusion” over his score on the par-four sixth hole. He was penalised for a lost ball and according to a marshal, who was present there, he three-putted on his way to a triple bogey. However, he walked away with a 6 after the organisers received conflicting evidence from various quarters. The youngster was given the benefit of doubt.
Just one shot behind the leader duo is KGC’s Nadir Khan, who carded 78.In the girls’ category, Aanya has a four-shot lead over Lahore sisters Rimsha and Parkha Ijaz, who both shot 80.The tournament will conclude on Sunday (tomorrow). The winners of each category will earn the right to represent Pakistan at the 11th Faldo Series Asia Grand Final to be held at the Laguna Lang Co Golf Club in Danang, Vietnam, in March this year.Following were the leaders after the first round:
76 – Aanya Farooq
80 – Rimsha Ijaz, Parkha Ijaz
77 – Omar Khalid, Damil Ataullah
78 – Nadir Khan
82 – Hamza Bilal, Syed Yashal Shah
84 – Omer Intisar
71 – M Saqib
74 – Junaid Irfan
76 – Hamza Shikoh Khan
78 – Rayyan Cheema
66 – Ahmed Baig
75 – Saim Shazli
78 – Vivek Anand
82 – M Bilal.