March 29, 2017; Indian youngsters Samarth Dwivedi and Honey Baisoya shot scores of four-under-68 to share the first round lead at the inaugural City Bank American Express Chittagong Open as the PGTI made its debut at the pristine Bhatiary Golf & Country Club.
Bangladesh’s leading golfer Md Siddikur Rahman was one stroke behind in tied third along with Sri Lankan Anura Rohana and five Indians Anil Bajrang Mane, Harendra Gupta, Naman Dawar, Shankar Das and PGTI Order of Merit leader Shamim Khan.
Samarth Dwivedi, playing only his second season as a professional, got off to a disastrous start with bogeys on the first two holes where he missed chip-putts. The 24-year-old from Allahabad then regained his confidence with a 10-feet birdie conversion on the seventh.
Samarth followed up his first birdie with two more on the eighth and 10th, driving the green on the latter. Dwivedi then made some crucial par putts on the back-nine before his final flourish that saw him make birdies on the 16th, 17th and 18th.
Samarth said, “I’ve not had the ideal start to the season having missed the cut in three out of four events so far. But I feel I’m now driving better with my new driver which I began using last week. The new driver has added about 15 to 20 yards distance on my drives.
“I had a poor start today but the birdie on the seventh got my round going. I struggled with my hitting on the back-nine till the 16th but stayed on course with some good par saves from about six feet. I then struck it well on the last three holes and landed it within three feet on two occasions. That helped me end the day on a high.
“One needs to have confidence with the driver here since it’s a tight course. The greens are smaller in size than usual and reading the lines will be tricky. Whoever putts the best will win here.”
Honey Baisoya, the winner of the season’s opening event in Noida, also had a terrific start to the week. Delhi-based Baisoya mixed eight birdies with four bogeys to share the lead with Dwivedi.
“It’s a good start considering we’re all playing here for the first time. I’m now looking to carry forward the momentum that was built after my win earlier this year. The aim is to be consistent this season.”, said Honey a three-time winner on the PGTI.
Mumbai’s premier golfer Anil Bajrang Mane, who enjoyed one of his best seasons on the PGTI last year thanks to a 40th place finish in the Order of Merit, sparkled with a 69 in round one. Armed with a new putter, Mane made some long conversions to end the first day in a strong position.
Local favourite Siddikur Rahman produced four birdies and a bogey to also take a share of third place.
Md Ripon was the next best Bangladeshi golfer in tied 10th with a score of 70. His round featured an eagle-two on the 10th, three birdies and three bogeys.
Among the other prominent names, Indians Khalin Joshi (71) and Udayan Mane (74) occupied tied 13th place and tied 41st place respectively. Md Zamal Hossain Mollah of Bangladesh fired a 77 to be tied 65th.