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Ashok Kumar blazes to victory
September 18, 2004 17:22 IST
There was no respite for the rest as Ashok Kumar blew the field away with a blazing 6-under par round to win The Hindu Open which concluded at the Cosmo-TNGF Golf Course on Saturday and consequently land his fifth career title on the Amby Valley PGAI Tour.
Not many would have considered Ashok Kumar a contender for the title after his dismal opening round of 72. However, with a course record-breaking 62 in the second round and a 5-under par 67 to back it up in the third, Ashok clearly sent out a message with conviction on who the 'Boss on the Moss' would be this week.
A closing round of 66 and a four round aggregate of 21-under 267 saw Ashok walk away 'Numero Uno' with the winner's cheque of Rs 1,62,000.
His leader group partners, Mukesh Kumar and Vijay Kumar, carded 4-under 68 for the day each to finish sole second and third respectively.
The prizes were given away by V S Danasekar, former captain Madras Gymkhana Golf Club, Dilip Thomas, Joint Managing Director-AVT Group of Companies, S Raamassubramanian, Associate Secretary-TNGF and Nirmal Shekar, Sports Editor, The Hindu.
Starting the day at 15 under, Ashok Kumar did not waste any time to move into overdrive. He birdied the par-four first after almost driving the green, before holing a twenty-five footer for eagle on the par-five second. He repeated the same on the sixth where he stuck a four iron second shot within four feet from the pin. In the zone that he was in, four feet seemed more like four inches. At the turn, Ashok stood on the tenth tee at twenty under for the tournament and an astonishing eight shot lead over Mukesh Kumar, current money leader on the Amby Valley PGAI Tour. His next birdie came on the par-3 13th where he holed an uphill twenty-five footer curving right. A drop shot on the dog leg 14 made no difference to what had already been one of the best finishing rounds on the tour this season.
Ashok made his last birdie on the short par-5 16th and when the galleries on the 18th green waited for their champion, all he had left was a tap in for par before the local caddies went all out to retrieve the champion's golf ball.
"Finishing the Chennai leg with a win is a great feeling, even more so after breaking the course record in the second round. I would like to thank my sponsors, N Srinivasan of India Cements, Amit Luthra without whom I would not be here today and the DLF Golf & Country Club for letting me use their wonderful facility to develop my game," said The Hindu Open champion.
Mukesh Kumar did not start today's round thinking of second place. He made a genuine effort to create inroads into Ashok's lead. But even with birdies on the second and fourth, it was always going to be a colossal climb. He bogeyed the difficult fifth where he missed a down hill two-footer. Three more birdies on the sixth, sixteenth and eighteenth saw him turn in a card of 68 for a four round total of 14-under par 274, sole second for the second week in a row and a check of Rs 1,12,000.
With this Mukesh continues to lead the order-of-merit standings on the Amby Valley PGAI Tour. "Áshok played brilliantly and closed the door for all of us. It is good to see him getting into the same form that saw him finish on top for last season and that's not good news for us," said a jovial Mukesh.
Vijay continued the good form he showed in the third round. He made birdies on the second, fourth, sixth, 16th and 18th. A lone bogey on the fifth was his only drop shot of the day. He missed easy birdies on the 16th and 17th which would have given him some hope of second.
In the end he had to settle for third and a cheque of Rs 63,000.
Sellvadurai is Top Amateur: L Selvadurai of ONGC, Rajamundry finished as the top amateur for the week with a four round aggregate of 300, 23 strokes ahead of local boy Darshan Veeragavan.
The Amby Valley PGAI Tour heads to the garden city of Bangalore, where the pros will fight it out for top honors once again at the Hero Honda Open South next week.
Scores: (after 72 holes): 267-Ashok Kumar (72,62,67,66); 274-Mukesh Kumar (72,65,69,68); 277-Vijay Kumar (69,73,67,68); 279-Ranjit Singh (67,74,68,70); 280-Rahul Ganapathy (69,67,73,71); 281-Sandeep Syal (69,71,70,71), Basad Ali (67,72,70,72); 284-Gast Ram (71,73,71,69); 285-Yusuf Ali (70,73,71,71), Sanjay Kumar (71,71,71,72).
Amateurs: 300-L Selvadurai (78,74,77,71); 323-Darsh.