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Ashok Kumar extends winning run
October 16, 2004 15:48 IST
Ashok Kumar extended his phenomenal winning streak on the Amby Valley PGAI Tour to four-in-a-row courtesy a final round four-under 68, which saw him romp home to a six-stroke win at the ONGC-Noida Open 2004 played at the par-72, Noida Golf Course.
Ashok's tournament tally of 17-under 271, in addition to earning him the winner's cheque of Rs 1,62,000 also handed him his fourth title win in five tournaments at the Noida Golf Course.
Shiv Kapur, Ashok's rival from the amateur days, had to settle for tied-second position at 11-under 277 along with Meerut's Digvijay Singh.
While Shiv fired an error-free 69 today, Digvijay did one better with a 68. The duo each pocketed Rs 87,500. Mhow's Mukesh Kumar, who shot a final round 70, finished fourth at ten-under 278, while the promising Madaiah played to 75 to slip to a tied-seventh finish at 282.
The biggest compliment that can be paid to Ashok Kumar was done by his own competitors, all of whom admitted to fighting only for second position.
Indeed, Ashok has left no option open for anybody with his aggressive stroke-play. However, the 23-year-old would still not admit that he was gunning for glory, even when it came to as rare an achievement as his fourth straight win on the Amby Valley PGAI Tour.
"I always play my natural game and that takes care of itself," said the golfer, who now tallies an astounding Rs 7,09,000 in just six weeks' work on the Tour.
"Everybody has their time," said the Delhi Golf Club pro, when queried about the secret of his phenomenal consistency.
"Once upon a time Rohtas Singh won every event; then came the likes of Vijay and Mukesh. I guess it is my turn now," he concluded.
Ashok's final round began aggressively with the golfer birdying his opening two holes and following it up with birdies on the eighth and ninth. If his rivals had any plans to make a late round charge, they were quelled when Ashok sank a difficult right-to-left 30 feet putt on the ninth.
On his back nine, with a five-stroke cushion over his competitors, Ashok went on to drop his first shot of the day on the13th, but made up with a birdie on the following hole. If another birdie on the 17th placed him at five-under for the day, an unfortunate driver shot that found the water hazard on his closing hole saw him finally settle at 68 and 17-under for the week.
"I am happy with my showing and hope to carry my form into the Crown Plaza Open in China," said the golfer, who heads directly to the Asian circuit for three weeks of competition.
Digvijay Singh began in similar fashion to Ashok, with two birdies on his opening holes. The lanky golfer went on to essay two more birdies on the seventh and eighth to make the turn at four-under.
While Ashok was too far away at this stage, Digvijay was eyeing Shiv Kapur with whom he was tied second. A bogey on the 11th where he flew the green had him worried as did missed birdies putts on the 13th and 14th, each from as close as four feet.
Digvijay then made a 'clutch par putt', as he described it, on the 15th to tie with Shiv.
"I was keen to keep my second position and not let it slip away," said the 32-year-old. A birdie on the17th later, he returned with a card of 68.
Shiv Kapur, for somebody playing only his fourth professional tournament on the Amby Valley PGAI Tour, has a pretty impressive record with two second place finishes and one win to show for his efforts. Today he played simple but consistent golf to card a 69. Shiv's front-nine yielded only one birdie on the seventh, while his return journey saw him add two more to the kitty on the 14th and 15th.
"I am not too pleased especially considering the fact that I missed six feet and shorter birdie putts on my first six holes," said the 22-year-old.
"Second place is bridesmaid; nothing to feel happy about," said the Asian Games gold medallist, who like Ashok and Digvijay will play the Asian circuit for the next few weeks.
Verma wins amateur title: Gagan Verma, courtesy a level-par 72, won the amateur title at two-over 290. Local lad Jasjeet Singh finished second at 294.
Scores (after 72 holes): 271 Ashok Kumar(67,67,69,68); 277 Digvijay Singh(69,72,68,68), Shiv Kapur(68,72,68,69); 278 Mukesh Kumar(69,71,68,70); 280 Harinder Gupta(72,72,68,68); 281 Vijay Kumar(73,67,73,68); 282 Gaurav Ghei(70,71,74,67), S Madaiah(69,66,72,75); 286 Ranjit Singh(68,73,73,72), Gurbaaz Mann(71,69,72,74), Sanjay Kumar(72,71,68,75), Ali Sher(70,69,72,75).
Amateurs: 290 Gagan Verma(68,75,75,72); 294 Jasjeet Singh(74,67,80,73)