Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu) [India], August 23 (ANI): The seasoned N Thangaraja of Sri Lanka shared the opening round lead with Indian rookies Saptak Talwar and Aryan Roopa Anand as the trio posted scores of six-under 66 at the Coimbatore Open 2023 being played at the Coimbatore Golf Club.
PGTI Rankings leader Om Prakash Chouhan (67) of Mhow was one shot behind the leaders in fourth place.
N Thangaraja hit his irons and chips with pin-point precision on Tuesday that helped him collect seven birdies in exchange for a lone bogey. Thanga, as he is popularly known, landed it extremely close to the pins leaving himself birdie putts within three feet on six occasions. The other highlight of his round was the drive on the par-4 15th which found the green and led to a two-putt for birdie. The 42-year-old Colombo-based player’s only setback was the bogey on the 17th.
Thangaraja, a three-time winner on the PGTI, said, “I created a lot of scoring chances for myself today with my irons and wedges in particular. I hardly left myself any long putts. I worked on my chipping during the off-season and all that hard work is paying off now.”
Delhi-based Saptak Talwar drove it well on the front-nine setting up a birdie on the fifth and an eagle on the ninth, also sinking a 15-footer on the latter. The 24-year-old Saptak, who plays at the Jaypee Greens Golf Resort in Greater Noida, then dropped a shot on the 10th before regaining control with four more birdies thereafter as he found the fringe of the green with his tee shot on the par-4 15th and landed his tee shot within a foot of the hole on the par-3 16th.
Saptak said, “I last played this course as a junior many years back, so the practice round on Monday helped me get a good feel of the conditions here. I feel I did well to capitalize on the relatively calmer conditions in the morning session today as it wasn’t too windy. I haven’t had a great first half this season but last week onwards I’ve been feeling good about my game.”
Bengaluru’s Aryan Roopa Anand, who too was playing at Coimbatore after several years, made two birdies and a bogey on the first eight holes before his round took off with a chip-in for eagle on the ninth. The 21-year-old, currently placed 14th in the PGTI Order of Merit with two top-10s in the season so far, then added three more birdies on the back-nine which included a massive 60-feet conversion from off the green on the 17th.
Sandeep Singh of Sri Ganganagar made a hole-in-one on the fourth hole during his round of 71 that placed him tied 25th.
Amateur golfer J Vignessh shot a 74 to be the highest-placed among the Coimbatore-based players in tied 64th position.
Round 1 Leaderboard:
66: N Thangaraja; Saptak Talwar; Aryan Roopa Anand
67: Om Prakash Chouhan
68: Manish Thakran; Anura Rohana; Karan Pratap Singh.(ANI)
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