PANCHKULA: Chandigarh lad Aadil Bedi set the early pace courtesy a flawless seven-under-65 at his home course during round one of the TATA Steel PGTI Players Championship 2020 Presented by Chandigarh Golf Club. Karandeep Kochhar, also from Chandigarh, Gurugram’s Veer Ahlawat and Kolkata’s Divyanshu Bajaj were all in tied second place having returned matching scores of six-under-66 at Panchkula Golf Club.
The tournament has a unique format as it is being played across two venues in close proximity – Chandigarh Golf Club and Panchkula Golf Club (in Haryana) – both located in the Chandigarh Tricity region.
The format for the event is as follows: One half of the field will play their first round at Chandigarh while the other half will play their first round at Panchkula. In round two, both the halves of the field will switch venues. The third and fourth rounds will be played at Chandigarh.
Nineteen-year-old Aadil Bedi, who won the PGTI event played just prior to the lockdown in March this year, enjoyed a good day with the putter in his home conditions on Monday. Among his seven birdies, five were conversions from a range of 15 to 40 feet. Aadil, who took a share of 12th place in Panchkula last week, also made two quality up and downs, one for birdie on the second and the other for par from 30 yards on the ninth.
Bedi said, “The putter was hot today and importantly I kept the errors out by putting the ball in play. I hadn’t performed as per my expectations last week so there was some extra motivation for me to do well today in familiar conditions. It was my best ever score in a tournament at Chandigarh.
“I’ve learnt from my last week’s performance where I was eight-under through the first 27 holes but then made a few unnecessary errors. I guess I took a few things for granted. However, this week I’m trying to stay in the moment and giving the course due respect.”
Karandeep Kochhar, Veer Ahlawat and Divyanshu Bajaj’s scores of 66 accounted for the best effort in Panchkula on day one. Kochhar, the runner-up last week, seemed to continue from where he left at Panchkula on Saturday. Karandeep, who shot a bogey-free 67 in the final round at Panchkula on Saturday, carded an error-free 66 at the same venue on Monday. The 21-year-old’s birdies included a 25 feet conversion on the third, a magnificent approach from 145 yards on the eighth that landed inside two feet of the pin and a terrific drive on the par-4 11th that found the green.
Kochhar said, “My short-game was sharp today and I also made two crucial up and downs for par on the last two holes besides all the birdies. Fortunately for me, I feel I’m once again on the right side of the draw similar to last week. I played Panchkula today and will now play Chandigarh for three straight days thus making it easier to adjust to the conditions rather than switching venues twice.”
Veer Ahlawat too enjoyed the advantage of beginning the week at Panchkula as he had shot two low rounds at the same venue last week. Veer’s 66 featured seven birdies and a bogey. Most of Ahlawat’s birdies were drained from a range of six to 10 feet. He also drove the par-4 11th green to set up a birdie.
Divyanshu Bajaj, who arrived in Chandigarh one week prior to the resumption of events in order to spend time with coach Gurbaaz Mann, did not drop a shot during his 66. He knocked down a couple of long putts from 15 feet and 35 feet.
Karnal’s Mani Ram was in fifth place with a 67 while six players shared the sixth spot with scores of 68 including defending champion Rashid Khan of Delhi and Chandigarh’s Amrit Lal. Among those in tied 12th with identical scores of 69 were PGTI Order of Merit leader Udayan Mane of Pune, Kolkata’s Viraj Madappa and last week’s winner Akshay Sharma of Chandigarh.
Bengalureans Chikkarangppa and Khalin Joshi were both in tied 19th place with scores of 70. Chandigarh’s Ajeetesh Sandhu and Patna’s Aman Raj were tied 37th at 72.Indian star Jyoti Randhawa posted a 73 to be tied 50th.