KARACHI: With the direction of the wind changing, the fortunes of Ahmed Baig changed as well.
During the past week, Ahmed has been out-of-sorts and struggled with his swing — first at the Sindh Governor’s Cup at the DHA Golf Course and then in the first round of the Chairman JCSC Championship at the Karachi Golf Club on Wednesday.
But as the winter winds blew across Karachi on Thursday, things fell in place for Ahmed. With two rounds to go, he’s firmly in contention for the title at the most lucrative tournament on the Pakistan golf circuit.“You have to adjust at the KGC,” he told Dawn after firing three birdies in a two-under 70 saw him move within two shots of the lead. “In the summers, the wind blows from right to left but in winters it changes direction so it becomes a challenge.
“The way the KRC is designed, you have to try the fade shot in winters so that you’re able to find the greens. It worked out for me today.”
A two-way tie at the top of the leaderboard sees Matloob Ahmed (72) and Mohammad Khalid (71) level at three-under 141, a stroke ahead of Talib Hussain (69), Minhaj Maqsood (72) and Mohammad Afzal (70).
Four other golfers are level with Ahmed at 143, including Shabbir Iqbal (74) — the winner of the Governor’s Cup last week.
Shabbir’s long-time rival Mohammad Munir (72) is in a group of eight at 144 while the joint-leaders at the end of the opening round, Waheed baloch and Mohammad Imran, both slipped five shots off the lead after returning a card of 76.
Also on Thursday, the two-round senior professionals’ championship came to a thrilling close as Naseer Khan and Mohammad Akram both fired rounds of 69 to finish level on seven-under 137 before the former prevailed in a playoff.
The junior professionals’ event was won by Nabeel Khan (74) who finished on eight-over 152 to edge Mohammad Saqib (76) by a shot.
In the opening round of the amateurs’ competition, Yashal Shah shot a 72 to take a five-shot lead over Omar Khalid — the winner at the Governor’s Cup — and Saim Shazli.
Hamna Amjad (73) closed the penultimate round of the women’s amateurs at 158 for a four-shot lead over Daniya Syed (81).
The ladies’ contest began on Thursday with Humera Khalid (80) taking a four-stroke lead over Tabassum Sharif.
Khurram Khan (75) has a similar lead over Ahmed Jamil Siddiqi after the first round of the senior amateurs.
Published in Dawn, December 3rd, 2021