Gagan Verma was quick to make his intentions clear as he shot a sizzling round of five-under 66 to take lead after round one of the Royal Challenge Amateur Golf Championship being played at the par 71 Poona Club Golf Course.
Trailing him was the brother duo of Simarjeet and Jasjeet Singh from Noida Golf Course.
While three-time Sri Lankan Open winner Simarjeet Singh shot a round of two-under 69 to be placed second, younger brother Jasjeet was placed third, one shot behind at one-under 70.
On a day that saw great playing conditions with no wind and softer greens, the players returned low cards to promise an exciting competition ahead. The number two-ranked golfer on the Royal Challenge Indian Golf Tour, Amarbir Singh Lehal was tied at fourth place along with number eight seed Amandeep Malik, Ranjit Singh from Royal Calcutta Golf Course and Delhi golfer Anitya Chand at level par 71.
Ninth seed Jaideep Patwardhan, playing on home course, was lying tied ninth at one over 72 along with the third seed Gaganjeet Bhullar.
Gagan Verma started his round with a bogey when his tee shot on the 414 yards par 4 first went left resting next to the boundary wall. A birdie on the par three second was nullified by another bogey on the third hole. A brilliant par from the sand on the par three fourth set the momentum for what followed next. Without dropping another shot, the 31 year old golfer shot a spate of birdies on the par four fifth, par five seventh, par four ninth to be two under on the front nine. Playing a very consistent game, Gagan shot three more birdies on the backnine to finish five under for the day.
The shot of the day for Gagan came on the par three 13th when a solid five iron off the tee saw him less than two feet from the pin.
"I wasn't striking the ball well but my pitching and chipping saved the day for me. My score should have been much lower than five-under," said the Indian Oil employee.
Simarjeet too played a very consistent game with birdies on sixth, 10th, 11th and 18th off set by bogies on par four fifth and ninth. A 30-footer for birdie on par four 11th marked the shot of the day for him. Jasjeet on the other hand has a seesaw of a round with five birdies and four bogies.
The other highlight of the day was a hole in one shot by Jalandhar-based Amil Kumar Sharma. The ace came on the 189 yards par three 4th.
SCORES (after 18 holes): 66 Gagan Verma; 69 Simarjeet Singh; 70 Jasjeet Singh; 71 Anitya Chand, AS Lehal, Amandeep Malik, Ranjit Singh; 72 Chirag Kumar, Jaideep Patwardhan; 73 Gaganjeet Bhullar, Chitrajit Kalra, HS Kang, Ajeetesh Sandhu, Girish Virk.