Nov 28, 2019: Delhi-based golfers, the seasoned Shamim Khan and youngster Arjun Prasad, took the early lead at the third edition of the Kensville Open Presented by TATA Steel PGTI, a Rs. 40 lakh event, being played at the magnificent Kensville Golf & Country Club near Ahmedabad.
The 41-year-old Shamim and the 20-year-old Arjun returned scores of six-under-66 in the first round to establish a one-shot advantage over Kolkata’s Sunit Chowrasia (67) who was placed third.
After an opening hole birdie, Shamim Khan got his round going with two 20-feet birdie conversions on the sixth and ninth. Shamim’s much-improved putting display this week saw him pick up three more birdies from a range of seven to eight feet on the 12th, 14th and 15th.
Shamim, a 14-time winner on the PGTI, then pushed his tee shot to the right on the par-3 16th that resulted in his only bogey of the day. Khan finally sank his third 20-footer of the day for a birdie on the closing 18th.
Shamim said, “I’ve not played up to my expectations this season. My hitting has been consistent but my putting average has been poor most of this year and that has affected my results especially at some of the bigger events. I’ve not putted well from a range of seven to eight feet recently.
“However, today my putting was much better and that helped me score well. I did drain some crucial putts from a range of seven to eight feet. That is exactly what is required on this course along with good driving.
“I’ve done well at this venue in the past having finished tied third at the Kensville Open 2017 so I’m hopeful of turning around my form this week,” added Khan, currently placed 30th in the TATA Steel PGTI Order of Merit.
Arjun Prasad, who finished a creditable tied 11th at the Asian Tour’s Panasonic Open India earlier this month, continued to impress with another top-notch effort. Prasad, like co-leader Shamim, fired seven birdies at the cost of a lone bogey.
Arjun, who was driving the ball well, got his first birdie on his fifth hole, the 14th, but then there was no looking back for him as he collected four more birdies over the next six holes. Prasad had an eventful final stretch as he found the hazard and dropped a shot on the sixth before converting a 30-footer for birdie on the next hole. He added a final birdie to his card on the eighth.
Prasad said, “I kept the errors out today and managed to get myself out of some tough situations. I had a good game-plan and saved par whenever I missed the fairway. My driving and putting were solid. I feel I’ve been in good rhythm since the Panasonic Open India, my last event.”
Sunit Chowrasia with five birdies and a bogey was placed third while the trio consisting of Bangladesh’s Md Zamal Hossain Mollah, Chandigarh’s Abhijit Singh Chadha and Kolkata’s Raju Ali Mollah were a further shot back at four-under-68 in tied fourth.
Among the Ahmedabad-based players, amateur Jay Pandya was the highest-placed. Pandya occupied tied 13th as he shot a 70.
PGTI Order of Merit leader Rashid Khan of Delhi and defending champion Tapy Ghai of Gurugram carded scores of 74 to be placed tied 62nd.