LAHORE-Matloob Ahmed (Lahore Garrison), M Munir (Rawalpindi Golf Club) and Talib Hussain (Islamabad) dominated the first day of the 39th Punjab Open Golf Championship here elegant PAF Skyview Golf Course on Friday. 

At the end of the first 18 holes that concluded on Friday, the radiant and luminous ones of the day turned out to be Matloob Ahmed (Lahore Garrison), who enjoys the number two ranking in the golf circuit of Pakistan, M Munir (Rawalpindi Golf Club), holder of many titles and Talib Hussain, an upcoming one from Islamabad as these three players carry the tag of ‘proficiency’ as far as application of golfing skills is concerned and noticeable was this application over the opening 18 holes. 

Matloob ended up with a round of gross 68, four under par and this remarkable score of gross 68 was also achieved by Munir and Talib. As a result of this attainment, they have the honor of occupying the top position on the leaderboard. Matloob scored birdies on holes 7, 8, 11, 14 and 17 and a bogie on the 10th hole. Regulation pars were adroitly managed on the other thirteen holes. 

As for Munir another capable one of our golfing ranks, he was equally apt and his excellence in terms of birdies came about on holes 5,8,14,15 and 17 and like his adversary Matloob, he confronted a sole bogie one hole. In his case too the regulation pars totaled thirteen. Third leaderboard mate of Matloob and Munir is Talib Hussain and he also played incredibly well and owed his position on top of the leaderboard to a spectacular eagle on the first hole and four birdies on holes 4, 8, 13 and 16. 

Unlike the other two, he was bitten by two bogies on holes 10 and 12. However, he has been wonderful overall and looks forward to a breakthrough on the remaining two days of this championship. “This course is to my liking,” said Talib and added: “I just need to strategize my tee shots on the out of bounds holes. Right now, I am enjoying the spotlight and thank Air Commodore Tariq Usman of PAF Skyview for giving the professional admirable playing conditions.” 

Some more participating professionals, who showed abundant golfing skills and glow are two young ones who have just succeeded in entering the ranks of professionals. They are Ashiq Hussain of Multan and Zohaib Asif of DHA, Karachi. Ashiq carded a gross 70, two under par and Zohaib Asif ended up with a score of gross 70 too. For these less experienced professionals, the score achieved is certainly encouraging and reflects well on their capacity and potential. Hopefully, they continue to play well in the remaining two rounds. 

Some others, who have come up with noteworthy scores, are seven participating competitors who ended the first 18 holes by managing a score of gross 71, one under par. Names of these talented ones are Talat Ijaz (Gymkhana), Muhammed Shahzad (Garrison), Khalid Khan (Peshawar), Roman Khan (Peshawar), M Tariq (Islamabad), M Khalid (DHA Karachi) and Muhammed Asif (Defence Raya).

 Six players are placed at a score of gross 72 and they are Latif Rafiq, Ejaz Khan, Asad Khan, M Nazir, Usman Ali and Kashif Masih. 

A hearty development visible amongst our professional golfers is that out of 88 competing, 12 competitors had under par rounds and six had par rounds. 

The second round will commence on Saturday at 6:30 am  and as Project Director of PAF Skyview Golf Club, Air Commodore (r) Tariq Usman said: “Players like Ashiq Hussain and Zohaib Asif  have a lot to fight for; this is a grand opportunity and they have to pursue their dream of winning without getting perturbed by the temperamental strengths of the leading champions of our national golf circuit.” The prize money of this championship is Rs 2.1 million partly sponsored by JS Bank and another attraction is a car for hole in one.