Bajaj shoots 65 with an ace, lies second in KGA Challenge


Bengaluru, Mar 28 (PTI) India’s Divyanshu Bajaj on Tuesday holed an ace en route a fine seven-under 65 to lie one shot behind the leader, German Michael Hirmer after the opening round of the KGA Challenge, the second of the two-week Indian swing of the European Challenge.

It was not just Bajaj, young southpaw Kartik Sharma and Mari Muthu shot six-under 66 each to be placed tied fifth as Aman Raj, who was in the Top-10 last week, and Khalin Joshi, playing in his home course, shot four-under 68.

The advent of two Challenge Tour events has created new opportunities for the Indian golfers.

While Om Prakash Chouhan, who played a stunning final round to win the Black Bull Challenge last week, now has a card on Challenge Tour, a win in the USD 300,000 event will go a long way in contending for the PGTI Order of Merit, the winner of which gets a card to the main DP World Tour.

Divyanshu, searching for his maiden title, said, “It’s been a long time since I shot such a low score. I was playing well and performing consistently on the PGTI till 2019 just prior to the onset of Covid. But thereafter I had some health issues due to which I struggled on the golf course.

“I’ve addressed the health problems with some changes in my lifestyle such as restrictions in my diet. These changes along with my self-belief have helped me get my game back on track.

“I had an excellent start today and the hole-in-one on the 13th was a huge confidence-booster. After making bogey on the 14th, I came back really well. I was very stable from there on and kept the errors out of my game even though I missed a couple of birdie opportunities from 10 feet on the front-nine.” Another local Bengaluru golfer, C Muniyappa, Samarth Dwivedi and Varun Parikh of Gujarat carded three-under 71 each to be tied 28th.

M Dharma, a strong contender on the PGTI Tour, had India’s top amateur Avani Prashanth on the bag, as he played two-under 70.

Avani is playing the role of a caddie to see top pros in match situation and learn from it. She often plays practice rounds with Dharma, Khalin Joshi and Chikkarangappa, who are all from Bengaluru.

Leader Hirmer, who is seeking a maiden pro win on the Challenge Tour, was T-18 last week.

Source: PTI News


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