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Second straight win for Ashok Kumar
September 24, 2004 16:36 IST
Ashok Kumar surged to his second straight win on the Amby Valley PGAI Tour, courtesy a final round 69 at the Rs 10-lakh Hero Honda Open South 2004 played at the par-70, Bangalore Golf Club course.
The winner's tournament tally stood at seven-under 273 and earned him a handsome cheque of Rs 1,62,000.
Ashok's previous win on the Tour came at The Hindu Open in Chennal last week.
Kanpur veteran Shiv Prakash, who incidentally won the McDowell Centenary Open on this very golf course in 1998, made a late charge with a final round 65, to leap into a tied-second finish with Chandigarh's Ranjit Singh. The duo, at 274, earned Rs 87,500 each.
Pune's Rajeev Datar stole a share of the limelight with a career-best round of six-under 64, also the day's best card even as overnight joint leader Rahul Ganapathy carded a 73 to slip to a tied-seventh finish at three-under 277.
The prizes were given away by P S Sunder, Zonal Manager, Hero Honda Motors at a function held immediately after the tournament at the Bangalore Golf Club.
Ashok Kumar is very clear in his mind. He wants to be the No. 1 golfer on whichever Tour he plays. No. 1 in his mind is however determined by how he plays. Today, for instance, there was but a wry smile on the winner's face.
"I'm happy I won but I didn't play to potential," said the 23-year-old.
Ashok's woes lay in his putting. It was his poor effort on the greens that gave the competition a whiff of victory. Ashok missed putts of less than four feet on six occasions, and what is worse two of these were two feet long.
"I didn't have any pressure on me today. I just went about my task the way I would in any other round," said Ashok, who was tied for the lead with Bangalore's Rahul Ganapathy overnight.
The India Cements-sponsored golfer birdied the third where an eight iron left him with a six feet putt to sink. A bogey on the fifth later, Ashok was smiling as his 20 feet eagle effort on the eighth found the cup ... one of those rare moments when his luck shone on the greens. Eight under for the tournament at that stage Ashok went on to bogey the tenth and 11th once again opening up possibilities. A birdie followed on the 12th but thereafter, every-hole had people wondering whether the eventual champion would drop a shot and go into a play-off with Shiv and Ranjit.
This was not to be as in completely uncharacteristic fashion, Ashok played safe to par his way to victory.
"I would like to thank the DLF Golf & Country Club, my sponsors India Cements and Mr. Amit Luthra for supporting my cause all through," said the champion.
Shiv Prakash had an error-free round. The 44-year-old returned birdies on the second, eighth, 11th, 13th and 14th. An anxious Shiv paced the pavilion anxiously during the half hour period that separated his and Ashok's return walking in hope of a play-off, or better-still an outright win. This was however not to be.
"I tried my best but Ashok deserved his win," said the Rotomoc sponsored professional graciously.
Incidentally Shiv's, last win came at the SRF All-India Matchplay Championship in April 2002 at the Delhi Golf Club.
Ranjit Singh's was more a case of the tortoise in the fabled tale without similar results though. The Chandigarh Golf Club pro played consistently all through the week and his final round score of 67 though not superlative, propelled him into contention only because of earlier efforts of 67, 72 and 68.
Ranjit's round was studded with birdies on the fourth, eighth, 13th, 14th and 16th, While his bogeys occurred on the sixth and ninth.
"It is disappointing to lose out as this would have been my career's first ever win but Ill be up there again and very soon," said the recently married golfer whose wife walked with him on each of the four days.
Srinivas wins amateur title: Anand Srinivas courtesy a card of four-over 74 won the amateur title at a tally of 297. Pradeep Krishna at 317 finished second.
Scores (after 54 holes): 273 Ashok Kumar(72,66,66,69); 274 Shiv Prakash(68,71,70,65), Ranjit Singh(67,72,68,67); 275 Pappan(64,70,72,69), Mohd. Islam(70,65,70,70); 276 Digvijay Singh(70,66,70,70); 277 Gaurav Diwan(67,72,69,69), Raiq Ali(68,67,71,71), Rahul Ganapathy(65,71,68,73); 278 Amritinder Singh(70,72,67,69), Naman Dawar(68,70,71,69) Amateurs: 297 Anand Srinivas(74,74,75,74); 317 Pradeep Krishna(81,79,79,78).