KARACHI: Islamabad’s duo of Shabbir Iqbal and Ansar Mehmood sizzled on the opening day of the UBL 9th Independence Day Cup Open Golf Championship which teed off here at the Defence Authority Country and Golf Club on Friday.
Shabbir, the defending champion, was in top form as he made seven birdies in a bogey-free round to card an impressive score of seven-under 65 and take a four-shot lead in the Rs2.5 million championship.
Equally good was Ansar, who sank seven birdies and a stunning eagle to share the pole position on the leader-board at the end of the first round of the 54-hole event.
Shabbir began the first round steadily with pars on the first two holes on the scenic front nine and then made back-to-back birdies on the par-three third and the par-five fourth. He made two more birdies on holes 6 and 8 to finish front nine with a score of 32. The defending champion then made birdies on holes 14,15 and 17 to end the day on a high.
Ansar, too, was in great form as birdied the third hole and then made an eagle on the fourth. He also made birdies on holes 5,8,12,15,16 and 17 but two bogeys on holes 10 and 14 didn’t allow him to overtake Shabbir on the leader-board.
Placed on the third position was Shahid Javed Khan (69) followed by the trio of Matloob Ahmed, M. Sohail and M. Safdar (70).
M. Khalid, M. Rizwan and Shehbaz Masih were at 71 followed by the duo of Shafiq Masih and Talib Hussain (72).
In the amateurs’ category, title favourite Ghazanfar Mehmood took a one-shot lead after carding one-over par 73 in the opening round. He was followed by DACGC’s Zohaib Asif (74), Abdullah Nasir (75), Robin Bagh (76), Hamza Ghani (77), Taimoor Khan (78), Ashiq Hussain (79), Sajid Khan (79), M. Ziaraf (79).