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Newbies tee off with pros
- Munda inaugurates golf tie

Amateur golfers had a great time playing alongside veterans at the inaugural day of the 12th Tata Open, which teed off at Beldih and Golmuri greens on Wednesday.

Former chief minister Arjun Munda inaugurated the meet after which the professional-amateur (pro-am) round was played in Team Stableford format with each side comprising one experienced golfer and three newbies. Munda, who attended a cake-cutting ceremony with Tata Steel’s vice-president (corporate services) Sunil Bhaskaran, also participated.

Professional Golf Tour of India member Ranjit Singh’s team, comprising amateurs Eric Lui, Rita Jha and Nitin Khosla, scored 122 to pip Vinod Kumar’s side, which finished with 119 points. Seasoned golfer Kumar had teamed up with Killol Kamani, S. Rawat and Roopali.

“It’s a great start to the tournament. I got a feel of conditions at both the courses,” said 38-year-old Singh from Chandigarh, who will feature in the championship that begins from Thursday.

Besides the pro-am event, the first day of the tie also saw two other contests — Straight Drive and Closest to the Pin.

Director (operations) of Professional Golf Tour of India Uttam Singh Mundy, chairman of East Zone Council of Indian Golf Union Farzan Heerjee, Tata Metalliks managing director Sanjiv Paul and former Tata Steel vice-president A.M. Mishra were also present at the inauguration ceremony.

With the pro-am over, the stage is now set for the real show. The four-day tournament will feature 111 seasoned golfers, including former champions Mukesh Kumar, Shamim Khan, Vinod Kumar, Rashid Khan, Chirag Kumar, Harendra Gupta, Om Prakash Chouhan, Shankar Das, Chikkarangappa S. and Angad Cheema.

Defending champion Mithun Perera and others like Anura Rohana from Sri Lanka, Kunal Bhasin from Australia, Nepal’s Shivaram Shrestha and Md Zamal Hossain Mollah from Bangladesh are also in the fray.

Karan Taunk from Jamshedpur is also participating in the event.