LAHORE - Salman Jehangir of Lahore Gymkhana played a spectacular first round on the opening day of the three-round 7th Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) Golf Championship here at the par 72 Lahore Garrison Golf and Country Club golf course on Friday.

In the face of slightly poor visibility and murky conditions because of wholesome smog, this highly skilled young golfer was right on target from the word go and his opening birdie on the first hole was an indicator of his relentless spirit and an urge to appear as an unbeatable amateur.

As if that was not enough reflection of his intentions, Salman further went on to birdie the 3rd and 4th holes helped by a tee shots of excellence and what followed on the remaining 14 holes was superb hitting, classic approach shots to the green and all this was backed by fluency on the greens. He putted like a man in total control of his nerves and rattled in the putts without any hicups. In this first round of the championship, he had three birdies on holes 1, 3, 4, and12 and ten pars and three bogies. The effort fetched him a round of gross 71, one 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 nationally ranked players, Zohaib Asif of Karachi and M Rehman of Royal Palm.

Zohaib Asif ended the first round with a score of gross 73 and at the score of 74 is M Rehman. Both these competitors are talent and experience loaded and quite capable of moving ahead of Salman with a more spirited performance during the second round on Saturday. This means that Salman has a task ahead of him in the remaining two rounds and this might even turn out into a battle of nerves. Ability wise these three contenders are solid as far as the golfing abilities go. What will make the difference is proper application of skills and focus. Two more competitors who are looking good are M Insaf and M Ashfaq at a score gross 75 and 76.

The great effort put up by Salman Jehangir, Zohaib Asif and M Rehman was a source of delight for Commodore SM Shahzad, Station Commander, Pakistan Navy in Lahore and the Chief Organizer of the Championship. Commodore Shahzad was there all day, keeping a track of the champions and sending waves of encouragement all around. With his energy and approach he can do wonders for golf. Because of the smog factor 60 keen competitors could not complete their 18 holes on Friday and will do so on Saturday. Out of these sixty Damil Ataullah is playing amazingly well.

The seniors played nine holes on Friday and will play the remaining on Saturday. The race is on between Javed Khan, Lt Col Waqar Ahmed, Brig Nasrullah Khan, Dr Javed Iqbal and Maj Gen Muhammed Tahir. The ladies will tee off today at 8am on Saturday.