LAHORE: For the top professional golf champions of the country, Friday was a day of transcendence when the first round proceedings for professional category competitors began at the marvelously challenging par 72 PAF Skyview Golf Course in the 3.2 million prize money carrying 41st Punjab Open Golf Championship here. And how well they thrived in terms of golfing excellence can be gauged from the fact that twelve of them produced sparkling under par rounds while two seasoned ones came up with par rounds. Merit and calibre and classy golf play was discernible all through the 18 holes and the one who stood out as the golf player of impeccability was Latif Rafiq, a golf professional of Lahore Gymkhana who has ceased to give golf lessons over the past six months to focus on his game and the adherence to practice toil has yielded results. His 18 holes round yesterday etched him an illuminating score of gross 67, five under par and was on top of the leaderboard while super stars like Shabbir Iqbal, Matloob Ahmed, M Munir and Ahmed Baig were placed way down. He owed the outstanding score to accurate drives, commendable golf play from the fairways and noteworthy effort on the greens. As for other professionals, looking fierce and admirable were Shahid Javed Khan, M Ashfaq (Airmen Golf Club Karachi), A Zahoor (Multan) and Shabbir Iqbal (Islamabad) and they were all bracketed at a score of gross 68, four under par and just one stroke behind leader Latif. Four more competing professionals with praiseworthy command over their game were bunched together at a resplendent score of gross 69, three under par. These four were Arif Ali (PTV), M Afzal Mohsin (Defence Raya), Khalid Khan (Peshawar), Tallat Ijaz (Gymkhana) and Matlloob Ahmed (Lahore Garrison). Others placed well were Raza Ali (Multan) at gross 70, M Imran and M Rehman (Defence Raya), M Sajjad (AG) at gross 71 and Ashiq Hussain (Multan) and M Shahzad (Garrison) at par 72. For events like senior amateurs, senior professionals and junior professionals, the competition was over 36 holes and these events concluded yesterday. The gross winner in senior amateur race was Tariq Usman Abbas (PAF Skyview) who eclipsed over his rivals through steady play and reliable hitting. With two rounds scores of gross 78 and gross 78, he aggregated a score of 156 and won the first gross prize. His nearest rival was Waqar of Garrison Club who ended at a score of 156 but Tariq won as he had a better score over last 18 holes. Third position was secured by Umair Butt of Defence Raya. His score was 160. In the senior amateur net, Shahid Arshed came first, Asif Mehdi second net and Azhar Janjua was third net. In the senior professionals, M Akram (Lahore Gymkhana) first, M Akhtar (Islamabad) second and M Tariq (Islamabad) third. In the junior professionals, M Sahil (Peshawar) was first, Shahbaz Ali (Lahore Garrison) second and Rehan Babar (Lahore Garrison) was third. The ladies amateur contest will be held on Saturday and Sunday. The professionals first tee off will be at 06:30 am on Saturday.