Showing posts with label Golf. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Golf. Show all posts

Friday, 22 June 2018

Ashbeer Saini prevails by three shots to bag maiden win

Ashbeer Saini prevails by three shots to bag maiden win

Karnal, Haryana, June 22, 2018: Kapurthala lad Ashbeer Saini’s career got a new lease of life after he bagged his maiden professional title at the PGTI Feeder Tour event at the Madhuban Meadows Golf Club in Karnal, Haryana. The 24-year-old Saini, who returned a sedate one-over-71 in the final round, prevailed by three shots at nine-under-201 for a wire-to-wire victory.

Delhi’s Pawan Verma fired a three-under-67 to gain two spots and finish in second at six-under-204.

Ashbeer Saini (63-67-71), the overnight leader by five shots, had an ordinary front-nine on Friday making two birdies and two bogeys. His best effort on the outward nine was a chip-in for a terrific par-save on the fifth.

The luxury of a commanding overnight lead and the absence of any serious challenge on the final day ensured Ashbeer’s win despite his double bogey on the 13th. He finally sealed it with a superb drive that resulted in a birdie on the 15th.

Saini had joined the professional ranks in 2013 as a bright prospect after having had the distinction of being India’s leading junior and amateur golfer in the preceding years.

However, the golfer who has been inspired by his city-mate Gaganjeet Bhullar, could not achieve the desired results in his first five seasons as a professional and was also hampered by a wrist injury that he suffered in 2016.

Saini said, “This win is huge for me as it helps me finally break the victory barrier and put behind the disappointments of the past. I’ve fully recovered from my injury now and this win might just prove to be the turning point of my career.

“My game is improving with every passing event and I’ve been pretty consistent of late as is evident from my top-10 finishes in all three Feeder Tour events this season.

“My driving and putting were outstanding this week. I once again created opportunities today by landing my drives on or close to the green on almost three occasions. I feel I’m now well prepared to make an impact on the main tour,” added Ashbeer, who moved up four spots to third place on the Feeder Tour Order of Merit.

Pawan Verma (72-65-67) produced the third day’s joint best score, a 67, to bag his second runner-up finish of the season. Verma, a former winner on the Feeder Tour, thus climbed from fourth to second place on the Feeder Tour Order of Merit.

Gurugram’s Kushal Singh, who also carded the day’s joint best 67, finished tied third along with Lucknow’s Amardeep Rawat (69) at five-under-205.

Karnal’s Maniram finished tied 19th at eight-over-218.

Gurugram-based Dhruv Sheoran, winner of the first two events of the season, missed the cut at Karnal but continues to lead the money list by over Rs. 30,000 as his season’s earnings read Rs. 2,03,440.


Friday, 26 January 2018

Siddikur Rahman shoots sizzling 66, opens up five-shot lead on day two of City Bank American Express Dhaka Open

Siddikur Rahman shoots sizzling 66, opens up five-shot lead on day two of City Bank American Express Dhaka Open

Dhaka, January 26, 2018: Md Siddikur Rahman of Bangladesh struck a sizzling six-under-66 in round two of the inaugural City Bank American Express Dhaka Open, a US$ 60,000 event, to open up a five-shot lead at 10-under-134 at his home course, the Kurmitola Golf Club in Dhaka.

 The Indian duo of Shankar Das and Rahul Bajaj carded scores of 68 to occupy tied second place at five-under-139 at the event tri-sanctioned by the Asian Development Tour (ADT), Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) and Bangladesh Professional Golfers Association (BPGA).

The 33-year-old Siddikur Rahman (68-66), lying overnight second, one shot off the lead, lived up to the tag of being the pre-tournament favourite on Thursday as he sank seven birdies at the cost of just one bogey.

Rahman, a 10th tee starter in round two, raced to three-under through nine holes thanks to a couple of long birdie conversions on the 17th and 18th holes. Siddikur, a multiple winner on the Asian Tour, then added three more birdies to his card on the front-nine to end the round with an impressive 10-under total.

Siddikur said, “I’ve done really well over the first two days having kept the errors out of my game despite the course not playing easy. My putter was hot today as I made three long birdie conversions including one from just off the green on the 17th.

 “I also managed to capitalize on all the four par-5s today, making birdies on each one of them. I’ve now put myself in a good position to have a shot at the title. I’m really hungry to win in front of my home crowd once again. The key would be to keep my calm over the next two days,” added Rahman, who won a PGTI event in Bangladesh last year.

He further said, “The newly-launched City Bank American Express Dhaka Open will go a long way in unearthing more golfing talent from Bangladesh. I’m really looking forward to other Bangladesh players also performing well this week.”

 While Shankar Das posted a bogey-free 68, Rahul Bajaj made five birdies and a bogey during his round of 68. Both players moved up five places from their overnight tied seventh.

Round one leader Shakhawat Sohel of Bangladesh dropped to tied fourth place at four-under-140 after his second round of 73. Sohel’s compatriot Akbar Hossain (70) and Sweden’s Malcolm Kokocinski (70) were also in tied fourth.

 The halfway cut was declared at five-over-149. Fifty-eight golfers made the cut which included 30 Bangladeshis and 18 Indians.

Sunday, 31 December 2017

Shiv Kapur closes 2017 on a high with third victory of season at Royal Cup

Shiv Kapur closes 2017 on a high with third victory of season at Royal Cup

Pattaya, Thailand, December 31, 2017: India’s Shiv Kapur closed the year on a high with his third victory of the 2017 Asian Tour season at the Royal Cup in Thailand.Kapur, the only golfer to win multiple Asian Tour titles in 2017, emerged triumphant in a fascinating duel against Thailand’s Prom Meesawat on the final day of the US$500,000 event.Shiv (67-68-68-67) posted a last round of four-under-67 to finish with a total of 14-under-270, one ahead of Meesawat.There were three Indians in the top-6 as Gaganjeet Bhullar (67-71-69-66) secured third place at 11-under-273 while Khalin Joshi (70-68-71-67) claimed sixth place at eight-under-276.

At the start of the final round, Prom was two shots ahead of Kapur, who was four shots ahead of the rest of the field.However, Prom lost his advantage as early as the second hole of the Phoenix Gold Golf and Country Club. After pulling to the left, Prom had to settle for a bogey at the par-three hole, while Kapur knocked in a birdie.Prom’s further bogeys on the fifth and ninth handed Kapur the lead. Although, the 33-year-old Thai managed to shake off his nerves after the turn and it was all square again following consecutive birdies on the 11th and 12th.

Kapur did himself no favours when he bogeyed the 13th and 14th and in the process, handed Prom a two-shot lead again.Kapur bounced back remarkably with two consecutive birdies of his own and it was back to a deadlock. With Prom bogeying the 17th, the door was left open for Shiv to win the Royal Cup, and he did.

Prom nearly forced a playoff as he narrowly missed a birdie putt at the last hole of the tournament.

 Shiv, who won the Yeangder Heritage and the Panasonic Open India earlier in the year, made 19 birdies at the cost of five bogeys during the Royal Cup week. It was his fourth win on the Asian Tour and the seventh international win by an Indian in 2017.

Kapur, who traded six birdies for two bogeys on Sunday, said, “It was a see-saw battle indeed. I had to come out fighting straight out of the blocks. I made two birdies in my first three holes and that reversed Prom’s advantage. It doesn’t always go to plan, but luckily, I started well and he made a bogey on the second hole and before I knew it, I was leading the tournament.

“On the ninth, I made a good par, which was pivotal. I had a great putt from off the green on 10th. At that stage, I thought I was in control. I hit a poor drive on the 11th and got away with par. He made good birdies on 11th and 12th and regained the lead.

“I felt that I made a bad swing on 13th and that carried over to the next hole. After the two bogeys, I was obviously disappointed as a two-shot lead turned into a two-shot deficit.

“Standing on the 15th tee, I told my caddie that we’re not going to go down without a fight. Let’s make a birdie here and see what happens or at least give myself a chance going into the last two holes.

“The birdie there (on the 15th) got me back into the tournament. I had a good up and down on the 17th and Prom kind of handed me the tournament as he three putted there. At the 18th, I thought he was a bit unluckily. Prom is a steely competitor and I’m lucky to come out on top.

“I think the tournament has a great format. It has a lot of history and I’m glad to join the illustrious list of winners.

“A lot of people were taking the week off. In hindsight, sometimes, good things happen. If I had made the EurAsia Cup team, I wouldn’t be here. It’s always great to win three times on Tour during the season. On top of that, it’s a special feeling to have my daughter here on the 18th green celebrating my win.

“If 2018 can come anywhere close, I’ll be happy. I’ll be building on my success. After three weeks of rest and relaxation, I’ll be back competing on the Asian Tour.”

Gaganjeet Bhullar held on to his third round position of third place after a 66 that featured an eagle, four birdies and a bogey.

Bhullar said, “I had a good tournament. I didn’t prepare much as I came straight from my wedding. Today was particularly good. I holed a lot of good putts and gave myself good opportunities. I played well but obviously these guys (Kapur and Prom) played better than me.

 “It is good playing this golf course again. I had good memories from last year and I’m glad I came back and played well this week.

“The year 2017 has been a memorable one. The Macao Open was special as it was a wire-to-wire victory and my second win there. It’ll be a tournament that is always close to my heart. This week was great, of course.”

Khalin Joshi fired a last round of 67 to gain three places from his overnight tied ninth and finally finish sixth.

Jyoti Randhawa ended the week in tied 41st at three-over-287.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

 Sharma ends fairytale week with an astounding 23-under total to win by three shots

Sharma ends fairytale week with an astounding 23-under total to win by three shots

South Africa: 12 December I  Twenty-one-year Indian sensation Shubhankar Sharma sent ripples across the golfing world by becoming the youngest Indian winner on the European Tour thanks to his career-defining victory at the Joburg Open on Monday.

Shubhankar (69-61-65-69), who had shot a record 10-under-61 on day two of the event, ended his fairytale week with a three-under-69 to amass an astounding 72-hole total of 23-under-264 which saw him prevail over South African Erik Van Rooyen by three shots at the Randpark Golf Club.

As a result of his sensational triumph, the Chandigarh lad also punched his ticket to the 2018 British Open which will be held at Carnoustie. The Joburg Open, co-sanctioned by the European Tour, Asian Tour and Sunshine Tour, was part of the Open Qualifying Series and thus offered berths to the top three finishers who were not already exempt.

 Sharma’s exploits at the R16.5 million (approximately US$1.2 million) event saw him pick up a winning cheque of US$191,532 as well as 17 Official World Golf Ranking Points (OWGR) that helped him skyrocket from 462nd to 226th in the Official World Golf Rankings.

Sharma, an Asian Tour regular, had led by four shots after seven holes of the final round when play was suspended on Sunday due to rain. Shubhankar, undeterred by the overnight delay, came out on Monday and struck his third birdie of the round on the ninth to consolidate his lead.

The five-time winner on the PGTI was solid through the back-nine as he made pars all the way till the end to become the fifth Indian to win on the European Tour after Jeev Milkha Singh, Arjun Atwal, SSP Chawrasia and Anirban Lahiri. Incidentally, Sharma also became the youngest Indian to win on the tour breaking Lahiri’s record as the latter had won the Maybank Malaysian Open in 2015 at the age of 27.

Shubhankar’s Joburg success, the first by an Indian professional in the African continent, lifted him to an impressive second place in the European Tour’s 2018 Race to Dubai. It also propelled him to sixth in the 2017 Asian Tour Order of Merit.

n ecstatic Sharma said, “It feels fantastic. I’m glad I made the decision to come here after thinking about not coming. It has been absolutely fantastic and the people are very welcoming. I don’t think I will ever forget this week. This is my first win on the Asian Tour and the European Tour so it means a lot to me.

“On the first day there were 240 players. I was just trying to play two good rounds to make the cut and the cut was really low. I was playing well and had a great start on the second day which got things going for me. As soon as I reached -13 after two days, I thought I had a chance to win.

“The only thing I was telling myself was to stay aggressive. I never wanted to be defensive. Even when I was leading I never thought of defending my lead. I actually set a target of 25-under and I only shot a 23-under (laughs).

“After yesterday’s rain delay I was walking back to the clubhouse and I saw Erik (van Rooyen) had just hit it to two feet so that was a birdie and it would narrow the gap to three shots. In golf, three shots is nothing. We’ve seen people drop shots. I just imagined that there was an invisible guy playing in my group and he was on 25-under. I was just trying to catch that invisible guy. I didn’t quite catch him but I’m happy that I won.

“I would love to play in the South African Open and meet Ernie Els. I met him in Macao two years back. He is such a wonderful guy, not only in South Africa but in world golf.”

The victory was even more special for the talented Indian as he won in the country of his golfing idol Ernie Els, who he met as an 11-year-old boy at the Delhi Golf Club in 2007.

Sharma caught the attention of Els at a golf clinic and after watching him hit a seven iron, the ‘Big Easy’ gave him an autographed business card and said, “Well when you grow up, I’ll be your agent.”

Reflecting on his first meeting with Els, Shubhankar, the son of an Army officer, said, “What happened to me in 2007 obviously changed everything for me. I was so happy and I framed the card. It just shows that small things from great players like him go a long way. I was only an 11-year-old boy back then.

“There were a lot of nerves. I got up like four times. I couldn’t sleep because it was raining so hard and I kept getting up. You have nothing to lose if you are chasing someone. It is very tough to maintain your lead. You just need to look at the bigger picture. If you played so well for three days, there’s no reason why you won’t play well in the final round. There were a few nervy moments but I’m glad I pulled through.

“Playing in The Open is everyone’s dream. Personally it is my favourite Major championship. I’ve watched it ever

Monday, 23 October 2017

Bhullar romps home to eighth Asian Tour title at Macao Open

Bhullar romps home to eighth Asian Tour title at Macao Open

Macao,23  October : India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar romped home to a three-shot victory at the Macao Open to bag his eighth Asian Tour title. As a result Bhullar etched his name on the Macao Open trophy for the second time having previously won the event in 2012.

Gaganjeet (64-65-74-68) was unstoppable on the final day of the US$500,000 event as he brought in a card of three-under-68 to end up with a winning total of 13-under-271 at the Macau Golf and Country Club.

In more good news for India, Ajeetesh Sandhu (66-67-71-70), fresh from his twin triumphs in Taiwan and Japan over the last two weeks, delivered a last round of one-under-70 to grab a share of second place at 10-under-274 and make it two Indians in the top-3.

Ajeetesh shared the runner-up spot with Angelo Que (69) of the Philippines.

Gaganjeet Bhullar, the overnight leader by one shot, put behind the disappointment of an ordinary third round effort of three-over-74 as he bounced back in round four with seven birdies at the cost of two bogeys and a double-bogey.

Bhullar started the day with a bogey to concede his outright lead and slip into the joint lead along with compatriot Sandhu. But he then rallied with six birdies over the next 12 holes to build a healthy five-shot lead to all but run away with the title.

Thereafter, Gaganjeet’s subsequent bogey and double-bogey on the 14th and 16th couldn’t stop him from marching to his first Asian Tour title in about a year. He finally registered a three-stroke victory margin thanks to his birdie on the closing 18th.

The strapping 29-year-old from Kapurthala in Punjab has now equalled Arjun Atwal and Jyoti Randhawa’s record of most wins (8) by an Indian on the Asian Tour.

It was also Gaganjeet’s third wire-to-wire victory of his career following the Macao Open 2012 and the Indonesia Open 2013. Bhullar had last tasted international success just about a year back at the Asian Tour’s Bank BRI-JCB Indonesia Open 2016.

Bhullar now has nine international wins to his credit including one on the European Challenge Tour. Interestingly, it was the third time that an Indian won the Macao Open. Besides Gaganjeet having won it in 2012, Anirban Lahiri had also won it in 2014.

Ajeetesh Sandhu, who was overnight tied second, one off the lead, had an encouraging start to the day when he sank two birdies on the first four holes. Ajeetesh, the joint leader early in the day, soon slipped out of contention after a string of bogeys on the seventh, 10th and 14th. He however managed to finish joint second after a late flourish which saw him birdie the 16th and 18th.

Rashid Khan shot a stunning final round of seven-under-64, the day’s best, to climb 19 places to tied fifth at six-under-278. His presence in tied fifth made it three Indians in the top-6 this week.

Chiragh Kumar of India also finished inside the top-20. He was tied 19th at even-par-284.

Shubhankar Sharma was a further stroke back in tied 24th.

Among the other Indians, Chikkarangappa was 33rd at three-over-287, Himmat Rai was tied 58th at eight-over-292, Khalin Joshi was tied 66th at 10-over-294 and M Dharma was 70th at 18-over-302.