Akshay Sharma shines on day one with a sensational 64 at Panchkula

Akshay Sharma shines on day one with a sensational 64 at Panchkula

Akshay Sharma of Chandigarh celebrated the resumption of events on the PGTI with some fireworks of his own as he shot a blistering eight-under-64 to take the round one honors at the TATA Steel PGTI Players Championship 2020 Presented by Panchkula Golf Club.

Asian Tour regular Chikkarangappa of Bengaluru occupied the second place at six-under-66.

The tournament has a unique format as it is being played across two venues nearby - Panchkula Golf Club (in Haryana) and Chandigarh Golf Club – 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 Panchkula while the other half will play their first-round at Chandigarh. In round two both halves of the field will switch venues. The third and fourth rounds will only be played at Panchkula.

Sunit Chowrasia

While the two leading scores came from the Panchkula Golf Club, Kolkata’s Sunit Chowrasia recorded the day’s best score at Chandigarh Golf Club, a five-under-67, to occupy third place on the leaderboard.

Akshay Sharma, a former winner on the PGTI in 2018, was delighted to get off the blocks with an error-free round. The 30-year-old’s good placement on the fairways and greens at Panchkula set up five birdie putts within a range of three to four feet for him, which he went on to convert. He also sank three long birdie putts of 12 to 15 feet.

Akshay said, “I was quite accurate today as I found all fairways and made 17 greens in regulation. It got a little windy on the back-nine, but I still managed five birdies there thanks to my good ball-striking.

“Playing at Panchkula was the bigger challenge for me as Chandigarh is my home course. I didn’t expect to go so low here, so this score is like a bonus for me as I’m confident of doing well in Chandigarh tomorrow.

Chikkarangappa in action

Chikkarangappa, a 13-time winner on the PGTI, also got off to a splendid start on Wednesday but had a contrasting round as compared to Akshay’s.

While Sunit Chowrasia produced the best effort at Chandigarh with his six birdies and a solitary bogey, local favorite Karandeep Kochhar shot a 68 at the same venue to be tied fourth along with Gurugram’s Manu Gandas.

Among the prominent names, Aadil Bedi of Chandigarh, and Patna’s Aman Raj were tied sixth with scores of 69. While the Delhi-based Rashid Khan (70) was tied 13th, Udayan Mane (71) of Pune, the PGTI Order of Merit leader was tied 20th, Chandigarh’s Ajeetesh Sandhu (72) was tied 29th and Khalin Joshi (74) and Viraj Madappa (74) were both tied 47th.