Matloob seizes lead at JA Zaman Golf amid challenging conditions

LAHORE   -  The 10th JA Zaman Memorial Open Golf Championship is un­folding with gripping inten­sity at the Lahore Gymkhana Golf Course. The tournament, a showcase of Pakistan’s finest golfing talent, has reached a piv­otal moment as Matloob Ahmed of Lahore Garrison takes a com­manding lead at the end of the second round. With a stellar performance, Matloob has post­ed an aggregate score of 140 (-4), demonstrating remarkable consistency and an astute abil­ity to navigate the demanding course. Hot on his heels are Mu­hammad Nazir of Rawalpindi and Kashif Masih of Garrison, both tied at a score of -3, setting the stage for a thrilling contest. Masih, who led after the first day, saw his lead slip away with a second-round score of 73. 

The championship is wit­nessing a tightly packed lead­erboard, with notable players including last year’s champion Ahmed Baig, Pakistan’s top-ranked Muhammad Shabbir, and Minhaj Warraich of Rawal­pindi – all within striking dis­tance, just two shots behind the leader. The second day’s play was marked by challenging weather conditions, including a slight drizzle and gusty winds that tested the players’ resil­ience and adaptability. Matloob Ahmed, leveraging his past suc­cess and deep knowledge of the course, capitalized on Par 5’s and showcased an exceptional putting game, setting him apart from his competitors. 

In contrast, Kashif Masih struggled with the par 3’s, and Hamza Amin, a joint leader from the first day, encountered diffi­culties that saw him tumble to a T14 position after recording two double bogeys and a scarci­ty of birdies. Defending champi­on Ahmed Baig and Muhammad Shabbir, the nation’s top golfer, remain formidable contenders, with their exceptional skills making them capable of surging ahead in subsequent rounds. Minhaj Warraich, once a junior sensation, is also proving to be a force in the professional circuit. 

The tournament also wel­comed amateurs to the fray, with Tipu Raja of Rawalpindi shining brightly by matching the day’s lowest round across both categories with a score of 68, placing him at the forefront of the amateur competition.As the championship progresses, with rain and persistent winds expected to intensify the chal­lenge, the players are bracing for a rigorous test of their skills.

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