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Kapur qualifies for British Open
April 07, 2006 16:27 IST
India's Shiv Kapur emerged victorious from a four-hole playoff to secure a berth at this year's British Open alongside Australian duo Jarrod Lyle and Uhno Park in the 36-hole final Asian qualifiers in Singapore on Friday.
With three slots up for grabs at the season's third major, overnight leader Lyle fired a one-under-par 71 on the Sentosa Golf Club's Serapong Course to post a two-round six under 138 that was matched by Park, who recorded a 70.
Kapur finished a shot further back in a tie with South Korea's Lee Sung, forcing a sudden-death playoff to decide who would join the Australian pair at The Open, being played at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England from July 20-23.
After matching pars over the first three extra holes, Lee cracked under pressure, hooking his drive into water at the par-five 18th, leaving Kapur the simple task of registering a par to secure a maiden trip to golf's oldest major.
All three qualifiers will be making their Open debuts at Royal Liverpool.
Lee's collapse was all the more painful after the Korean missed a four-foot par putt on the final hole to slip back into a tie with Kapur.
The Indian, who won his first title in Bangkok last December and was crowned the 2005 Asian Tour rookie of the year, seized on his good fortune and is relishing the prospect of his trip to Britain.
"It's pretty cool to be in The Open, it's been great this past one year," said the 24-year-old Kapur, who closed with a 70 which included a crucial birdie on the last.
"I've always dreamed of playing in a major as a kid and for it to come this early in my career, I'm pretty stoked. This makes my career a bit better."
Lyle overcame leukaemia seven years ago and the 25-year-old has enjoyed a remarkable start to his career since turning professional just 18 months ago.
"It's a dream come true. I can't wait to get over there and see what's it's all about," Lyle told reporters.
"Lying on my back [in a hospital bed] seven years ago, I wouldn't have thought about playing The Open or doing this for a living. I've been a pro for 18 months and now I'm going to my first major."
Park, who registered birdies on the final two holes to avoid the playoff, said he too is delighted to be making an Open debut.
"I almost closed my eyes when I hit my last putt," he said.
"It's a milestone for me, I've always wanted to play in the big events and this will look good on my resume."