Manu Gandas of Gurugram, a winner of four titles this season, continued his impressive run this season with a nine-under 63 to take the lead on the first day of the Dream Valley Group Vooty Masters golf championship at Vooty Golf County (Vikarabad) on Thursday.
Chandigarh’s Angad Cheema and Gurugram-based Kartik Sharma trailed Manu by two strokes having carded identical scores of seven-under 65 for a share of second spot.
One stroke behind the duo were a group of four golfers sharing fourth spot, including Varun Parikh, Om Prakash Chouhan, Arjun Bhati and Kshitij Naveed Kaul.
Manu logged a bogey-free round as he sank four birdies on the front-nine and five on the back-nine, in a flawless display. Gandas’ awesome hitting saw him set up a number of short birdie putts. His longest conversion of the day was a 25-footer on the sixth.
On a course where the players are finding it tough to negotiate the thick rough, Manu helped his cause by finding 10 out of the 14 fairways and 14 greens in regulation. His golden stretch came with three consecutive birdies from the 14th to the 16th as he chipped-in from the bunker on the 14th, drove past the par-4 green on the 15th for an up and down and then made an up and down from the bunker on the 16th.
Manu said, “My driving off the tee was quite good and my putting was also better than the past two weeks. I also made some good up and downs today. The chip-in from the bunker on the 14th really got me going today as I followed it up with three more birdies in quick succession.
Angad Cheema and Kartik Sharma, both in joint second at 65, too shot error-free rounds.
PGTI Order of Merit leader and five-time winner this season Yuvraj Singh Sandhu, was tied eighth at 67. The Chandigarh golfer mixed an eagle and six birdies with three bogeys on Thursday.
Aadil Bedi, another Chandigarh-based professional, fired a hole-in-one on the second hole during his round of 67 to also be placed tied eighth along with Yuvraj and Karan Taunk.
Ajeetesh Sandhu, one of the pre-event favourites, was tied 22nd with a score of 70.
Mohd Azhar, playing at his home course, returned a 72, to be the highest-placed local golfer at tied 45th.