Shabbir leads charge at Sindh Open

Published January 22, 2022
KARACHI: Shabbir Iqbal in action during the first round of the Sindh Open Golf Championship at the Airmen Golf Course on Friday.
KARACHI: Shabbir Iqbal in action during the first round of the Sindh Open Golf Championship at the Airmen Golf Course on Friday.

KARACHI: Smarting from a two-round playoff defeat to relinquish one title last week, Pakistan’s top golfer Shabbir Iqbal seems in no mood to lose another.

Having led the Sindh Open Golf Championship from start to finish last year, Shabbir Iqbal opened up a four-shot lead after the first round of this year’s event with a bogey-free six-under 66 at the Airmen Golf Club on Friday to ensure he doesn’t have to play catch-up this week.

Last week, Shabbir made up a five-stroke deficit in the final round of the Rashid D. Habib Memorial National Professional Golf Tournament only to lose the title to Waheed Baloch, who had led from the start, in a gripping playoff.

This time, he doesn’t want to give anyone any chance. Even the wind didn’t stand any chance.

On an incredibly windy day with gusts blowing at 47km/h, Shabbir parred the first six holes but then sunk successive birdies to finish the front nine. He got another on the 11th hole before finishing off with consecutive birdies on the last two holes.

“We had to try and hit low because of the wind,” Shabbir’s longtime rival Matloob Ahmed, who finished in a group of three closest to Shabbir on 70, told Dawn. “The wind was absolutely crazy.”

Arshad Rasheed and Mohammad Naeem were the other two golfers who were four shots adrift of Shabbir with another group of three comprising Zubair Hussain, Shahbaz Masih and Danish Masih at 71.

Ashiq Hussain, Mohammad Shahzad and Ahmed Saeed were a further stroke adrift with Waheed, fresh from winning his first title in Karachi since 2016, among seven golfers at 73.

Published in Dawn, January 22nd, 2022

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