Playing without a practice round, Jaglan is top Indian at Asia-Pacific golf

Shubham Jaglan of India tees off the 1st during round 1 of the 2021 Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship being played on the Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on Wednesday, November 3, 2021. Photograph by AAC

Dubai, November 3: Shubham Jaglan, who came in from the United States late on Monday night and missed the practice round was the best Indian after the first day of the 12th Asia Pacific Amateur Championship. The 17-year-old Haryana lad, who has been in the spotlight back in India since the age of six, is now on a golf scholarship at the University of South Florida. Jaglan, coached by Nonita Lall Qureshi, was 2-under and had a 20-footer for a birdie on the 18th to get into the Top-10. However, the first putt went five feet past the hole and he missed the return putt for a three-putt bogey. He finished with 1-under 70 and was Tied-24th.

There was a traffic jam at the top of the leaderboard as seven players including World No. 1 amateur Keita Nakajima and 2-time AAC champion, Yuxin Lin, were all at 4-under 67. Hong Kong’s Alexander Yang (67) had two eagles and two closing birdies against two bogeys, and the others in the lead bunch were two Koreans, Sam Choi and Cho Wooyoung, Kiwi Jimmy Zheng and Australian Lukas Michel. Four others shot 3-under, and 12 players were 2-under at T-12.

Milind Soni, 16, the youngest in the squad, who was also unwell last night played superbly for an even par 71 and was the best Indian at T-34, while India No. 1 Rohan Dhole Patil, playing with two of the world’s best amateurs, Nakajima and Yuxin, handled himself well to pull himself out of a deep hole and finish 1-over 72 to be T-41. Patil recovered from a nightmarish four-hole bogey stretch two holes before the turn and ending two after at the Dubai Creek.

Jaglan admitted to some initial nervousness, and said, “Since I had not played a practice round and had a hit only on the 10th yesterday. I did not know what lines to hit, but that meant I was totally engaged and focused. I like the set up, it is pretty similar to what I am used to and my game is good.”
On what he could have done better, he added, “I made two bad decisions, one on second where I went over the green, and 17th, where also I went over. But I managed to make up-and-down for pars. On 18th, I hit the first long putt aggressively, but just missed the return putt. Yes, I am pleased and looking forward to the second day.”

Patil said, “After missing a bunch of lag putts and some a couple of errors, my thoughts were focused on recovering after being 3-over after 11. I am glad I managed though the bogey on 16th was a disappointment. It was a roller coaster, some good putts including a 20-footer and some very short. I also had an eagle putt but managed only a birdie.”

Patil added, “It was great to play with the two best amateurs (Nakajima and Yuxin). We spoke a little but were all focused on our own games.”

Among others Akshay Neranjan and Arkesh Bhatia, an Indian playing on a UAE nomination, shot 3-over 74 each and were T-60th. Aryan Roopa Anand and the Dubai-based Arjun Gupta 4-over 75 each were T-65th. The cut will be applied after the second day and the Top-50 and ties.

Taking positives from the round, Neranjan said, “It was a great experience to play here at AAC. There were some nerves on the first hole, but I felt I was going well on the front nine with one birdie and rest pars. I was 1-under for the first nine. On the back nine, I had a few bad breaks and some bad lies in the bunker. It was my putting that didn’t come out well for me. On the 18th I went into the Creek off the second and ended with a double.”

Another Indian to finish the round with a double was Aryan Roopa Anand, the 2019 All India Amateur champion. He had a bitter-sweet finish on the tough closing segment. Five-over after 10, Aryan repaired some of the damage with birdies on 11th, 16th and 17th but went into the water on 18th and finished with a double bogey.

Indian scores at Par: 71 at Dubai Creek Golf and Country Club.

Shubham Jaglan (70; T-24); Milind Soni (71; T-34); Rohan Dhole Patil (72; T-41); Akshay Neranjan (74; T-60); Arkesh Bhatia (74; T-60); Aryan Roopa Anand (75; T-64) and Arjun Gupta (75; T-64).

All India amateur champ Aryan, Rohan and Jaglan dream of a passage to Masters and Open from Asia Pacific

Two 17-year-old Indian amateurs looking for a life-changing experience at the Asia-Pacific Amateurs  


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