Pune-based Udayan Mane, who represented India at the Tokyo Olympics, fired a sublime seven-under 65 in the opening round to take the early lead at the J&K Open on Wednesday.
The Delhi duo of Rashid Khan and Honey Baisoya as well as Gurugram’s Veer Ahlawat, the runner-up at the PGTI event last week, shot scores of five-under 67 to be tied second. Om Prakash Chouhan of Mhow, Chandigarh’s Akshay Sharma and Patna’s Aman Raj returned cards of four-under 68 to be tied fifth.
Delhi-based Kshitij Naveed Kaul, who has his origins in J&K, carded a 70 to be tied 14th. Indian golf legend Jyoti Randhawa posted an even-par 72 to occupy tied 25th place.
Pawan Parihar was the highest-placed among the players based in J&K. Parihar, who hails from the Jammu Tawi Golf Course, also produced a 72 to take a share of 25th place.
Mane got off to a dream start with eight birdies on the first 10 holes. He struck the ball with pin-point precision, landing it within six feet of the pin to set up birdies on the first, third, fourth, sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth.
On the 10th, the big-built Mane sank a 12-footer to move to eight-under for the day. After a terrific start, Udayan then slowed down on the back-nine as the putts didn’t roll in for him. He dropped a bogey on the 15th but saved a good par from the bunker on the 16th.
“I just started off with a bang and was seven-under thru nine holes and eight-under thru 10. Coming in I didn’t really make enough putts to get the round going. I was looking at a 59 after the 10th but it didn’t go as per plan for me on the back-nine,” Mane said.
Among the three players in tied second at 67, Veer Ahlawat and Honey Baisoya had error-free rounds while Rashid Khan made seven birdies and two bogeys.
Bengaluru’s Chikkarangappa, the last winner at Royal Springs Golf Course, ended the day with a 73 to be tied 39th while PGTI Order of Merit leader Karandeep Kochhar of Chandigarh was a further two shots back in tied 63rd place.