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Mukesh steamrolls ahead
November 25, 2004 17:39 IST
Two-time winner Mukesh Kumar fell a solitary stroke short of equaling his own course record, but his seven-under 65 was good enough to propel him to a seven-stroke lead at the mid-way stage of the Rs One million Indian Oil Servo Masters Golf 2004, being played at the par-72, Digboi Club Golf Links.
Mukesh now tallies 12-under 132 for the event.
Overnight joint-leader Shiv Kapur unsettled by two double-bogeys on his back nine shot a level-par 72 to slip to tied-second with Kolkata's Yusuf Ali at five-under 139.
The cut was applied at 11-over 155 with 51 professionals making it to the deciding rounds. Among the big names who missed the bus was Delhi veteran Rohtas Singh.
It was a case of experience triumphing over youth. Mukesh Kumar, who along with Shiv Kapur is Amby Valley PGAI Tour leader Ashok Kumar's leading challenger, was well nigh unstoppable today. The 38-year-old Mukesh faced up to every challenge the Digboi Club Golf Links threw at him to emerge unscathed.
Mukesh, himself was a shade disappointed when he returned to the club-house, reason being that he missed out on equaling his course record of eight-under 64 by a single stroke.
"I would have easily made it had it not been for five missed birdies putts of four feet and less," said the Mhow pro.
A tenth tee starter, Mukesh made his presence felt early on with birdies on the 12th, 13th, 15th and 16th. Another birdie on the first placed him at five-under for the day.
Mukesh ended his round in style using two three-woods to get to the green and then eagling the hole with a 15 feet downhill putt.
"I went that 'Extra Mile' to finish my round in style," smiled the two time winner of the Indian Oil Servo Masters, in obvious reference to the Indian Oil brand.
Golf is a fickle friend and Shiv Kapur received a crude reminder of that fact today. The talented youngster was going great guns till the tenth hole. In fact, Shiv studded his outward journey card with five birdies, these coming on the first, third, sixth, seventh and ninth. Despite a bogey on the second, he sat at an impressive four-under with nine holes to go.
"Everything was going fine till that point and with the way I've been hitting my ball despite a sore shoulder, I didn't expect anything to go wrong," said the 22-year-old.
The Digboi Club Golf Links is a tough customer with hazards criss-crossing almost every fairway. It is two of these very hazards that put paid to Shiv's smooth journey. On the tenth, a par-three hole, the Delhi Golf Club pro found a hazard with his tee shot. This cost him two shots. Then, on the par-five 15th, Shiv hit his driver right down the throat of another deep nullah and proceeded to record his second double bogey of the day.
"It was just one of those days," said the dejected golfer who is currently placed third on the Amby Valley PGAI Tour's Order of Merit.
Yusuf Ali, who teed off from the first, dropped a shot on his opening hole but went on to return six birdies and despite two more bogeys finished the day at three-under 69.
Baruah continues in amateur lead: Ajay Baruah shot a 73 to lead the amateur field at 160.
SCORE(after 36 holes): 132 Mukesh Kumar(67,65); 139 Yusuf Ali(70,69), Shiv Kapur(67,72); 142 Digvijay Singh(73,69), Gurki Shergill(71,71), Amritinder Singh(70,72), Randhir Ghotra(70,72); 144 Feroz Ali(72,72), Mohd. Islam(72,72), Bhoop Singh(70,74).