Ghazanfar Mehmood Of Rawalpindi Golf Club played a spectacular first round on Thursday, in the three rounds Chief of Naval Staff Golf Championship,endorsed by Zong,Coke and Pak Suzuki, in progress at the glorious par 72 Royal Palm Golf Course with a gross score of 69,three under par.
A seasoned campaigner,this youngster,who is ranked number one amateur in Pakistan, seems to be in a mood not only to dominate this championship but also other major events of our national amateur golf circuit due to be held this season.Teeing off early in the morning yesterday alongwith Tariq Mehmood(Pakistan Navy) and Sajid Khan(ASGCC) Ghazanfar let go his cylinders with a massive 280 yards opening tee shot that reflected control and ability and from thereon it was all excellence over the eighteen holes.
On his way to accumulating an extremely decent 18 holes score, he was aided by his birdies on holes 2,7,12,13,15 and 16,all the result of most impressive hits of the tee and backed by some very crisp hitting from the fairways and very fruitful use of the putter.Over the 18 holes he had six birdies,nine regulation pars and encountered stroke losses on holes 10,11 and 17.The only regret of the day and the first round was a slightly wayward tee shot on the tenth hole where his ball landed in the jungle ,otherwise the hicups totally stayed away without bothering him.
I just felt great on the first day”,Ghazanfar said,and went on to add,”my putter was at my beck and call on all the eighteen greens and I hope the feel stays with me on the remaining two days”.What added to Ghazanfar’s encouragement was that his performance was highly appreciated by Commodore Akber Naqi,Station Commander,Pakistan Navy in Lahore and the Chief Organizer of the Championship.Commodore Akber also promised financial support.
As against Ghazanfar’s performance,the defending champion M.Rehman ended the first round with a rather modest score of gross 77,and though he was steady on each of the 17 holes he suffered a massive setback on one hole which he triple bogied and for a golfer of his stature that represents a setback and a stressful happening.It will need a lot of excellence in the shape of birdies in the remaining two rounds to help him get back into the leaders row.
Tariq Mehmood of Navy lies second at a gross score of 74,two over par alongwith Imran Ahmed of Lahore Gymkhana who is also at the same score.Tariq has been a part of the golf scene for over three decades and Imran Ahmed is equally experienced,if not more.They are at ease with their golf swings but at times the tee shot shot distance is not too imposing like other youngsters.However they are temperamentally strong and with consistency can upset the leaders march to victory over the remaining two rounds.
Col(r)Shafi of Garrison Golf Club also made his presence felt with a gross round of 75 and appeared determined for top honors in the Championship.Other prominent ones in line are Robin Bagh(Srg)75,Khalid Mehmood(Rawalpindi)76,M.Rehman(Royal Palm)77,Raza Ali Khan(Royal Palm)77 and Akbar Qayum Bokhari(Peshawar),Amir Choudry(Gymkhana),Saleem Raza(Gujranwala) and Omer Salamat(Royal Palm) all at gross 79.
Disappointments of the day were Salman Jehangir,Col Asif Mehdi,Mir Maaz,Hashim Butt and Mohsen Zafar.Though accomplished golfers their game did not click and they lost strokes with gay abandon with control missing from their shotmaking.In the net category the race is on between Omer Zia (Gymkhana) placed at a net score of 70 alongwith Raza Ali Khan of Royal Palm who is also placed at net 70.Abdullah Sharif is at 71,followed by Dr Dildar Husssain,Hussain Hamid,Danish Javed,Ahmed Kayani,Nasir Irshad,Usman Cheema and Muhammed Hassan Saeed.The ladies will tee off today at 12 noon.