LAHORE   -  Ahmed Baig of Garrison Golf Club led the first round of inaugural Chairman Wapda Golf Championship 2018 with score of gross 70 here at the Defence Raya golf course on Friday.

In the face of intense challenge offered by 79 other aspirants, this highly skilled young golfer was right on target from the word go and his opening regulation par on the first hole followed by a birdie on the second was an indicator of his unrelenting spirit and an urge to appear as an unbeatable amateur.

As if that was not reflection of his intentions, Ahmed further went on to birdie the 5th and the 8th holes which can be attributed to tee shots of excellence and superb fairway hitting. His putting too was champion like and impressive. Overall In this first round of the championship, he had four birdies on holes 2, 5, 8, 13 and 12 pars and two bogies. The effort fetched him a round of gross 70, two under par, which represents the best score of the day.

The leader of the first round may be satisfied with his own effort but from the competitive angle his nearest challengers are two more good players, Ghazanfar Mehmood of Garden City Golf Club and Sulman Akhter of Lahore Gymkhana. They are bracketed at a score of gross 72. Ghazanfar Mehmood is a nationally ranked player and capable of making up the deficit of two strokes in the remaining two rounds.

Sulman Akhter seeks recognition of his enormous talent by performing to expectations of the pundits. He is the son of a former leading golf professional and the coaching and hard work are fetching him dividends. Another adept one in line is Ashiq Mehmood of Multan .His score for the first round was gross 73 and he also is on the lookout for glory and honors in this Wapda Championship.

Other notable contenders were Salman Jehangir (Gymkhana) 74, Hussain Hamid (Royal Palm) 74, Azfar Hassan (Defence Raya) 76, Khalid Mehmood (Rawalpindi) 76 and three others at gross 77 were Robin Bagh (Gymkhana), Zunair Aleem (Defence Raya) and Sardar Murad (Gymkhana).  In net section, Sulman Akhter finished on top with net 68. Azfar Hassan (Defence Raya) was second at net 69 and Hussain Hamid (Royal Palm) third at net 70. The ladies event will tee off today (Saturday). A cut was also placed for amateurs and out of 79 participants 19 stood weeded out and only the top 60 performers compete on the second day.  Wapda Chairman Lt Gen (r) Muzzamil Hussain hit the baptism shot with a one wood on the first tee and handsomely rewarded the caddie Ali Haider, who was successful in retrieving the golf ball hit by the chairman. Lt Gen (r) Muzzamil Hussain said: “Sports in Pakistan have been the most deteriorated segment during last five decades and there exists a need for structural change to elevate standard of sports in the country. “

There is no doubt that the youth are loaded with talent and all that is required is facilitating infrastructure.”