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Japan’s Makoto Iwasaki emerges early leader at Gujarat Open 2023

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Rookie Makoto Iwasaki of Japan fired an opening round of four-under 68 to emerge as the leader in the clubhouse after the first session of round one of the Gujarat Open Golf Championship 2023 being played at the Kalhaar Blues & Greens Golf Club in Ahmedabad.

Kolkata’s Khokan Molla and Gurugram’s Ankur Chadha were tied for second with scores of three-under 69.

Makoto Iwasaki, who came through the PGTI Qualifying School this year, began his day with an early bogey on the 11th. However, the 33-year-old Makoto started turning it around with a long birdie conversion on the 12th and a tap-in birdie on the 14th.

Iwasaki, who has been driving around India in a rented car, pushed further ahead on the front-nine with three more birdies including a 30-feet conversion on the second. He pitched it well from a range of 70 to 90 yards to land it within eight feet for birdies on the fourth and fifth.

Makoto said, “I played steady and consistent golf today with 15 greens in regulation. The Kalhaar course is longer and has more undulating greens as compared to the courses I generally play at in Japan. It’s a challenging layout and I feel that I negotiated it well today.

“I guess I’m settling in well on the PGTI having fared decently at the Qualifying School and then finishing tied 22nd at the season-opening event in Kolkata. I’m enjoying the experience of driving around myself in India. That has helped me get a better feel of the country. I look forward to building on this good first round performance,” added Iwasaki, who finished tied 53rd at the PGTI’s Qualifying School in January this year to gain a ‘B’ card on the tour.

Khokan Molla and Ankur Chadha made four birdies and a bogey each during their rounds of 69.

 

 

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