Gentle giant Harshjeet towers over field in gusty Coimbatore

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Harshjeet Sethie - TheGolfingHub
Round 1 leader Harshjeet Sethie enjoys playing the Coimbatore Golf Club as it reminds him of a links course. Photo Credit: PGTI

Harshjeet Singh Sethie thrived in gusty conditions to post a fabulous six-under 66 for the first round lead at the TATA Steel PGTI Players Championship 2022, a Rs 50 lakh event at the Coimbatore Golf Club.

Shamim Khan, Arjun Sharma and rookie Raunil Kukar of Bengaluru shared the second spot at five-under 67 as the second half of the PGTI season resumed on Wednesday.

Related: Season’s best for Arjun Sharma, and its about a new perspective

Harshjeet, the tallest player on PGTI at a towering 6 feet 7 inches, played in the afternoon session thus encountering tougher conditions as the winds synonymous with Coimbatore Golf Club picked up soon after he teed off even as the morning session had seen relatively benign conditions.

 

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Harshjeet, playing only his second season as a professional, began the week with a spirited performance following a slow first half of the year where he managed just one top-20. He opened the round with a birdie on the 10th before dropping bogeys on the next two holes with three-putts. The pro from the Delhi Golf Club then fought back with seven birdies including a chip-in on the 14th and an up and down from the bunker on the 15th.

“My ball-striking was very good as I hit 15 greens in regulation and made a lot of putts for birdies and pars just to keep my momentum going. The wind picked up after my third hole so I had to keep it low under the wind. I had two bogeys on the first three holes so I knew that I had a lot of holes to recover so I just kept calm.

 

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“I was struggling with my long game so I worked a lot on it during the mid-season break which I feel is paying off now. My iron-play was great today. I hit most greens so I didn’t have to chip and putt which got me confidence. I enjoy playing here at the Coimbatore Golf Club because it gives me the feeling of a links course,” he said.

Arjun enjoyed a bogey-free day while Raunil, playing only his third event as a pro, brought himself into the top-4 with an eagle on his closing ninth hole. Shamim mixed six birdies and a bogey on day one.

 

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Bengaluru’s Khalin Joshi, one of the leading names in the field, shot a 69 to be tied eighth along with city-mate Akshay Neranjen, who is playing his first event as a professional.

Reigning champion K Prabagaran of Sri Lanka carded a score of 82 to be placed tied 121st.