KARACHI - Shabbir Iqbal led the first round by one stroke in the Pakistan Open Golf here at the DHA golf link course on Thursday.

Shabbir grabbed the top perch on the leaderboard with fine three under 69. A stroke behind in second place was M Munir with two under 70 and Matloob Ahmed was third with one under 71.

The playing conditions at the 7000 yards redesigned course were perfect and those with vast experience showed better driving and putting to lead the way.

Shahid Javed, Talib Hussain and Ansar Mahmood finished with par 72. Imran Ali of the host club was one over 73.

Out of the 90 other aspirants in the professionals’ category, some were capable and accomplished and some eager to get recognised but only six showed an appreciable urge and application of golfing skills to do well and appear as golfers of strength when it comes to facing Shabbir.

Starting from tee number 10, Shabbir completed the back nine in 35 and going into the front nine he improved on his putting and finished it in 34. Along the way Shabbir birdied holes 10, 17 and 18 on back nine and 3, 5 and 8 on front nine, supplemented by nine regulation pars. Stroke losses were also encountered on three holes, but the collection of six birdies helped to overcome possibility of damage to the aggregate score of the first 18 holes.

As for Munir's first round, it was equally excellent 35 in and 35 out, birdies on holes 2, 5, 12 and 13, 12 pars and a couple of stroke losses on holes nine and 16, his round of 70 placing him next to Shabbir.