Harpal Singh Bedi
Pune: Ahmedabad-based Samarth Dwivedi fired a superb eight-under-63 to equal the course record at the Poona Club Golf Course on the opening day of the Pune Open Golf Championship
The 26-year-old Dwivedi ,who turned professional in 2016, in the process equaled the course record set previously by Vijay Kumar (2004),S Madaiah (2005) Chikkarangappa (2006),C Muniyappa (2014).
He led the field at the Rs. 30 lakh event by one shot ahead of Bengaluru’s Jaibir Singh who trailed second with outstanding seven-under-64.
Twenty-eight-year-old Jaibir Singh, playing his third season as a professional, came up with the best round of his career, a seven-under-64, to be close on the heels of the leader. Jaibir, who began the day with a bogey, went on to add an eagle, seven birdies and a bogey to his card. He chipped-in for eagle on the 14th and landed it within five feet on several occasions.
Bengaluru’s Trishul Chinnappa was in third place at six-under-65 while Panchkula’s Angad Cheema and Sri Lankan N Thangaraja occupied joint fourth place at five-under-66.
Pravin Pathare and Pratik Nirmale were the best-placed Pune golfers in tied 25th. Both shot scores of even-par-71.
Chandigarh’s Harendra Gupta, the 2016 Pune Open winner and the only former champion in the field, returned a one-over-72 to be tied 36th.
Dwivedi yet to win his maiden professional title, went on to add two more birdies on the 15th and 17th, the latter being a 20-feet conversion, to seize the early advantage.
He started his round with his first two birdies on the sixth and seventh. He then missed a couple of birdie opportunities on the eighth and ninth but soon got into his stride on the back-nine with four successive birdies from the 10th through the 13th. but his chip for eagle lipped out on the 12th. Dwivedi said, “It was just great to play bogey-free. For starters, I knew getting through the first four holes, the toughest stretch of this course, without any damage, would be half the battle won. I managed to do that successfully with pars on the first four holes. That gave me some confidence.
“The other highlight of my round was extracting birdies with long conversions on the seventh and 10th despite finding the trees and being in trouble on both holes. I feel I handled my emotions pretty well on those two occasions that helped me make good recoveries.
“My game just went to the next level on the back-nine. After gaining momentum with four consecutive birdies from the 10th to 13th I thought maybe I could even touch 10-under as I was having an ‘above average day’ with the putter and wasn’t missing any greens.
“I’m happy with the way I’m striking the ball at the moment. If I can keep this up, I’m pretty sure that I’ll be contending later in the week,” said Dwivedi who originally hails from Prayagraj.