LAHORE: At the end of the first round in the four-round 54th National Amateur Golf Championship at the Royal Palm Golf and Country Club Golf Course here on Thursday, the top team in the International Team Match, to be contested over 36 holes, turned out to be Pakistan C team comprising young ones like Zohaib Asif and Naeem Khan. The combination of Zohaib Asif, who hails from Karachi, and Naeem Khan of Peshawar played exceedingly well and their combined aggregate score was 147 and they were ahead of the Pakistan B team comprising Salman Jahangir and Taimoor Khan by one stroke, and Pakistan A team comprising Ghazanfar Mehmood and Mohammad Rehman by six strokes.
As regards the international teams, Bangladesh team of Mohammed Nazim and Mohammed Sagor were placed at a score of 154, Sri Lanka team of Sisira Kumara and P Hemantha were at 158, Iran team of Reza Pourhasseini and Ebrahim Noori were at 176 and Afghanistan team of Noor Ahmed and Ali Ahmed were placed last at a team aggregate score of 205, far behind the leaders Pakistan C. In the race for individual honours, Zulfiqar Ali of Multan was total excellence with an opening round of gross 70, two under par and this superb performance fetches him the top leader board position at the end of the first round. “The greens of Royal Palm are really good and I putted so very fondly and with purpose,” he said yesterday. The birdies on holes 3, 8, 9 and 12 provided the necessary boost and he looks forward to playing still better on Friday (today).
The other contenders in line for honours were Taimoor Khan at a score of 72 followed by Naeem Khan at 73, Zohaib Asif at 74, Omer Salamat at 74, Mubariz Ahmed at 74, Ali Hai, a former national champion, at 75, Ashiq Hussain at 75 along with Tariq Mehmood and then there were Ghazanfar Mehmood, Salman Jahangir and Mohsen Zafar at 76. In the Inter Association Championship, Khyber Pakhtoonkhawa were leading with a score of 224. Sindh were three strokes behind at 227 followed by Federal Territory at 229, Punjab at 229 and Balochistan at 238.
The women’s contest will start today with prominent contenders being Ghazala Yasmin (defending champion) and upcoming talented ones like Nushmia Sukhera, Maryama Khan and Ami Qin.
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