Three-way lead sets stage for fierce battle at JA Zaman Memorial Golf

LAHORE   -  The JA Zaman Memorial Open Golf Championship, hosted at the prestigious Lahore Gym­khana Club, witnessed a thrill­ing end to its first day, with a trio of golfers sharing the lead. 

The tournament, now in its 10th iteration, saw Muhammad Asif, Kashif Masih, and Hamza Amin finishing the day with a commendable score of 4-under-par 68, setting the stage for an intense competition. Over 100 of Pakistan’s top professional golf­ers teed off under challenging conditions, marked by unusual swirling winds, yet more than 30 players managed to card par or better, showcasing the high level of play and determination. 

Hamza Amin, returning to the JA Zaman Memorial after a hiatus, managed to sink seven birdies despite stumbling with three bogeys, including one on his very first hole. Reflecting on his performance, Amin ex­pressed satisfaction with his comeback. “It’s great to be back and competing at Lahore Gym­khana. The field is incredibly strong, with so much emerg­ing talent. I’m looking to lever­age my international playing experience to stay ahead,” said Amin, who clinched the Austri­an Open title in 2023. 

Muhammad Asif hit the ground running with a bogey-free front nine, decorated with four birdies. Despite a more challenging back nine, Asif remained optimistic. “The greens were particularly tough today, quick and hard to hold on longer shots. I am aiming to carry my form into tomorrow and go low again,” he shared after his round. 

Local talent Kashif Masih, representing Lahore Garrison Golf Club, matched the leaders’ score with exceptional play, es­pecially on the par 3s. Masih’s round was a rollercoaster, high­lighted by a trio of birdies on the front nine but marred by bogeys on the 9th and 18th. 

Hot on the heels of the lead­ers is former champion Mat­loob Ahmed, who finished the day at 3-under-par 69. Last year’s victor, Ahmed Baig, nar­rowly missed joining Ahmed at second place due to a last-hole bogey, ending the day at 2-un­der-par 70. Close contenders Muhammad Rizwan, Tallat Ijaz, and Jafal Hussain, all represent­ing the host club, along with Pakistan’s number one, Mu­hammad Shabbir, who carded a 71, are still in the hunt, promis­ing an exciting day ahead. 

As the championship pro­gresses into its second day, which also marks the start of the amateurs’ category, an­ticipation builds for more out­standing golf, with the lead­erboard tightly packed and everything to play for.

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