Jakarta: Aadil Bedi gave the Indian men a flying start with a bogey-free 69 that placed him Tied-2nd and the Indian team was also in second position at end of the first round of the 18th Asian Games men’s golf competition on Thursday.
Bedi, who bogey-free for the day, was one shot behind the reigning Australian Amateur champion, Keita Nakajima of Japan, one of the favourites here. Bedi is tied for second with local Indonesian Naraaje Emerald Ramadhan Putra, Malaysian Ervin Chang and Korea’s Cho Hoy-young, all of whom carded 69 each.
With Dubai-based Rayhan Thomas, the top-ranked Indian, carding 1-under 71 after being 3-under through 13 holes and Kshitij Naveed (73) the team was lying second, five shots behind the highly favoured Japanese. The three best cards from Japan totaled 208 and that included 4-under 68 from leader Nakajima. India’s first total was 213 which was one better than Koreans at 21 and Thailand at 215. China and Indonesia were Tied-5th at 217.
India’s fourth player, Hari Mohan Singh, a long hitter, had an off day with 5-over 77.
In individual standings, Bedi was T-2nd, Thomas was T-11, while Kaul T-18th and Hari Mohan T-45.
In the women’s section, Diksha Dagar (71) was the best Indian in Tied-7th, while young SIfat Sagoo (75) was 24th and Ridhima Dilawari (77) was T-27. With two best cards counting, the Indian girls were way down in ninth place, as Japan led at 136 and China (138) and Korea (142) second and third.
Japan’s Ayaka Furue at 5-under 67 led the field, with the other two Japanese, Sae Oguro and Riri Sadayama, among the four players tied at second with 68 each alongside China’s Liu Wenbo and Du Mohan.
The 17-year-old Bedi prepared him for this event with back-to-back appearances in professional events back home on Asian Development Tour and Asian Tour. “That preparation helped me a lot and the Pondok Indah course was not as easy as it looks. I have played it on two occasions before, including during our camp earlier on, but the course has been different each time. The greens were often double-paced and tricky. But I am happy to be back without a bogey and hopefully I can build on it.“
Thomas was happy with the way he hit the ball and got to the greens, but said, “I missed too many putts from around 6-8 feet and should have been at least 3-4 shots better the way I played. Also, it was disappointing to drop two shots late in the day. Still I feel I can work out the problems in time for tomorrow.”
South paw, Diksha Dagar, hopes to hole a few more putts on Friday, as she missed at least 2-3 including one, which stopped half a roll short on the lip. “It is part of the game and hopefully things will go my way,” she said. Incidentally, at the Queen Sirikit Cup in Thailand in May, Diksha had tied for fifth place alongside today’s leader, Ayaka Furue.