Harpal Singh Bedi/ Nuh, Haryana
Promising youngsters Aadil Bedi and Aman Raj, got off to a promising start as they carded identical 5 under 67 on the opening day of the $ 300,000 Classic Golf & Country Club International Championship on Thursday.
Eighteen-year-old Aadil and 24-year-old Aman were placed tied fifth, three shots behind the leader Rory Hie of Indonesia.
Rory Hie, still looking for his maiden Asian Tour win, shot eight-under 64, including a five-under 31, on the back nine of the course, while three Thais, Sattaya Supupramai, who has been coming to India each year since 2008, Suradit Yongcharoenchai and Kwanchai Tannin were on six-under 66s at Tied-second place.
In the morning Gareth Paddison of New Zealand was on fire as he raced through the back nine of the course in seven-under, before he had a triple bogey on the first, his 10th hole of the day. He ran out of birdies and also bogeyed the Par-5 ninth to finish three-under after being seven-under at one stage.
The other four Indians in the top-10 were Rashid Khan, Ranjit Singh, Abhijit Chadha and Himmat Rai, all placed tied eighth with matching scores of 68.
Aadil Bedi started off well with a 25-feet birdie conversion on the second followed by another birdie on the third. Bedi then narrowly missed an eagle from eight feet on the ninth but managed to salvage a birdie there.
Aadil had a setback when he bogeyed the 11th after finding the bunker but he roared back with three more birdies on the 14th, 16th and 18th where he drained a couple of putts from a range of six to seven feet.
Bedi said, “I didn’t have any expectations when I started. It’s my fifth week in a row playing a tournament so I just tried to play my own game. I am trying to find my groove, stay in the game and follow my processes.
“I have been playing this course for over 6-7 years now. I grew up playing here and have played a lot of junior and amateur golf here. So, I know the course and what challenges it presents.
“The season has been good so far. I am developing my game and have been practicing hard. It is just about time when I find the right scores.
“I played the Monday qualifiers of the Korn Ferry Tour in the United States, finished 8th and missed just by 2 positions. I gained a lot of experience there.”
Aman Raj’s flawless effort featured two terrific approach shots that stopped five feet from the flag on the 16th and seventh. He also played some tremendous chip shots to set up birdies within four feet of the hole on the 14th, third and ninth.
Aman, a winner on the TATA Steel PGTI last year, said, “I’ve enjoyed some good starts at Asian Tour events this year but haven’t finished those events well. I guess it’s part of the learning curve for me since this is my first full season on the tour. This week I have an opportunity to make amends since I’ve gotten off to another encouraging start.
“I just feel my game is getting better with every passing week thanks to the experience I’m gaining by playing in Asia. I need to stick to my routine and focus on finishing the week with good scores.”
Rashid Khan made the turn at two-under before producing a great bunker shot on the third to set up a tap-in birdie. Khan then had another breakthrough on the par-3 fifth when his tee shot landed within a couple of feet of the flag.
Rashid said, “After I lost my Asian Tour card at the end of last year, I decided to play on a country spot rather than going to the Asian Tour Q School to qualify for the tour. The decision seems to be paying off for me as I’ve done well so far this season with two top-10s and a top-20.”
Viraj Madappa was among the 10 Indians occupying tied 18th place at 69.Chikkarangappa and Ajeetesh Sandhu were a further shot back in tied 36th place. Khalin Joshi’s 73 placed him tied 94th.
Jyoti Randhawa, the only Indian to have won an Asian Tour event at this venue started off with a 75 to be tied 124th.