Jaipur: Chandigarh’s Akshay Sharma shot a sizzling seven-under 63 to take the round one honours at the INR 1 crore Bhawani Singh Rathore presents Jaipur Open 2023 powered by AU Small Finance Bank.
Jairaj Singh Sandhu, another Chandigarh player and Delhi-based Saptak Talwar were tied for second place at six-under 64.
Akshay Sharma sank eight birdies and a bogey on Wednesday to show signs of return to form after having hit a rough patch over the last few events. Akshay began the day with a long birdie conversion on the third before he went on to collect five more birdies from a range of less than 10 feet. A bogey followed on the 15th but he more than made up for it with birdies on the last two holes including a two-putt from 70 feet on the 18th.
Akshay, currently 10th on the TATA Steel PGTI Ranking with five top-10s this year including two runner-up finishes, said, “Putting was the highlight of my round today. I made birdies on all the four par-5s. I planned not to attack the par-5s today because they were playing tricky due to the headwind.
“The Rambagh Golf Club is in great shape and playing even better than last year after they changed the greens. I feel making greens in regulation will be the key going ahead on this course.
“I had momentum with some good finishes till October. But after missing the cut at my home course in Chandigarh for the first time in so many years, I lost some confidence. But now I feel that I’m slowly getting back in the groove.”
Jairaj Singh Sandhu’s 64 featured seven birdies and a bogey including four long conversions.
Saptak Talwar had eight birdies and a double-bogey in his round of 64. Saptak landed it within a foot of the flag on a couple of occasions.
Among the nine players bunched in tied fourth at 65, were last year’s Order of Merit champion Manu Gandas and the 2018 Jaipur Open winner Aman Raj.
Prakhar Asawa fired an even-par 70 to be the highest-placed among the Jaipur-based professionals. He occupied tied 48th position.
TATA Steel PGTI Ranking leader Om Prakash Chouhan (70) was also in tied 48th place.