LAHORE - Twenty-year-old amateur champion Ahmed Baig of Pakistan Thursday fired a flawless five-under-par 67 to emerge as the leader and amazed many top overseas golf professionals and also the top-ranked golf professionals of Pakistan at the end of the first day of the four-day UMA CNS Open Golf Championship in progress at the Karachi Golf Club Golf Course in Karachi.

According to information made available here on Thursday, Ahmed, who has many achievements to his credit over the past 12 months, became the flag-bearer for the country, as he showed his mettle and ability in this international event backed by the Asia Tour, which prides itself in luring 71 international top players from US, Venenzuela, Austria, Sweden, England, Spain, South Africa, Thailand, Phillipines, China, Singapore, Bangladesh and India.

During the first round, Ahmed showed adequate calmness and control and was definitely not overawed by the fact that he was up against many top golfers of Asia and other continents. What impressed the experts was his superb and accurate hitting off the tees and skillful and deft approach shots from the fairways.

Through this display of excellence, he won compliments from Asad IA Khan of Pakistan Golf Federation (PGF) and Taimur Hassan, Vice President of Asia Pacific Golf Confederation. For Ahmed, this represented a grand moment and a dream like round of quality golf on an occasion that brings international golf to Pakistan.

From amongst the overseas participants, Namchok Tantipokhakul of Thailand shares the top position with Ahmed, as he also ended the first round of 18 holes with a score of five under par 67 and these two are bunched together at the top of the leaderboard, as they move into the second round today (Friday). Undoubtedly, Namchok is a branded player of the Asian Tour and his mastery in application of golfing skills is evident from the way he handles his golf sticks and especially his putter.

M Shabbir Iqbal of Pakistan, Honey Baisoya of India, Pawin Ingkhaprait of Thailand and James Ryan Lam of Phillipines also played extremely well. These four fearsome and adept players are bracketed at a remarkable score of 68, four under par. The heartening news for Pakistan was that Shabbir looked in great trim and apparent was his determination to outshine his fellow competitors from other continents. And minus one lapse on the ninth hole where he lost a stroke, he was relentless in his pursuit of an outstanding show in this championship. "Overall, my game was good,” he said and added: "I did what I had to do, finding fairways greens, as required. I hope to improve further in the second round.”

The players from overseas, who are searching for a victory in Pakistan and lucrative prize money seem delighted that they accepted the invitation to come to Pakistan and play at the exquisite Karachi Golf Club Golf Course. They admitted: “Before coming here, they felt scared but now that they are here and feel good and would love to come back.”

Others players, who have come up with good scores are M Munir 69, Sunny Masih 69, Shahid Javed Khan 69 and they are all from Pakistan and these scores deserve to be complimented. Another one to score a 69 is Suradit Yong from Thailand. At a score of 70, two under par are Koh Deng Shan (Singapore), Matthew Killen (England), Dilshad Ali (Pakistan) and Imdad Hussain (Pakistan). The second round will be contested today (Friday).