Hyderabad: Chandigarh’s Akshay Sharma continued his good form with a career-best round of nine-under 61 to take the clubhouse lead on the rain-affected first day of the Bollineni Panache and Telangana Tourism present Telangana Golconda Masters 2023 being played at the Hyderabad Golf Association (HGA).
Mysuru’s Yashas Chandra and Ravi Kumar from Chandimandir, Haryana, were tied second in the clubhouse courtesy their scores of seven-under 63 on the opening day of the Rs. 1 crore event.
Out of a total field of 126, 12 players could not complete the first round on Wednesday as play was suspended at 5:30 pm local time due to a heavy downpour. The 12 players will resume their opening rounds at 7 am on Thursday.
Akshay, the runner-up in Vizag last week, had a whirlwind start to his day with six birdies on the front-nine including five on the trot from the fifth to the ninth. The two-time winner on the PGTI produced two exceptional chip shots, converted everything within 10 feet and also sank a 25-footer on his outward nine.
On the back-nine, Sharma’s early bogey on the 12th couldn’t derail his round as the 33-year-old picked up four more birdies firing it in within five feet on a couple of occasions and also finding the green with his drive on the par-4 14th.
Akshay said, “I’m delighted to have shot the lowest score of my career and improving upon my previous best of eight-under. I’ve been feeling the rhythm in my game since the start of the second half of the season in Chennai last month. I was in with a good chance last week in Vizag but one bad hole on the final day put paid to my chances.
“My ball-striking is getting better with each passing week and today my putter was also hot. The five consecutive birdies on the front-nine were a big boost. Importantly, I’ve been putting myself in contention regularly.”
Yashas Chandra and Ravi Kumar carded eight birdies and a bogey each during their rounds of 63.
Gaurav Pratap Singh, Daksh Shokeen and Kapil Kumar occupy tied fourth place at 64.
Hyderabad’s Mohd Azhar is one of four players bunched in tied seventh at 65. He is the highest-placed among the players from the host city.
Among the prominent names, Aman Raj shot a 66, TATA Steel PGTI Rankings leader Om Prakash Chouhan fired a 68, Rahil Gangjee returned a 69 while Udayan Mane posted a 76.
Earlier on Tuesday, professional Yashas Chandra led his team to victory at the Pro-Am event. The winning team consisted of professional Yashas Chandra and amateurs Dr. Sameer Mahendra, Mr. Gaddipati Sanjay Chowdary and Mr. Ananth Sridhar Reddy. The winners posted a score of 50.1.
Professional Sachin Baisoya and his team consisting of amateurs Mr. Bhaskar Reddy, Mr. Ranadhir Reddy Gurram and Mr. Rajender Reddy Gaddam were the runners-up with a score of 52.1.
The contest for the closest to the pin on hole no. 7 was won by Mr. Srinath Reddy Kottam who landed it within seven feet and six inches of the pin.
The contest for the closest to the pin on hole no. 16 was won by Mr. Dayakar Reddy who landed it within six feet of the pin.
The prize for the straightest drive on hole no. 5 went to Mr. Vilok Gadwal who landed his drive within one foot and five inches from the centre of the fairway.
The prize for the longest drive on hole no. 17 went to Mr. Vihaan Reddy who landed his drive at a distance of 300 yards.