Tennis ace Leander Paes, the star attraction of DHL Challenge Pro-Am, combined brilliantly with his professional partner and good friend Indrajit Bhalotia, and amateurs Akshay Kilachand and Puneet Chaddha to win the top prize at the Bombay Presidency Golf Club, on Saturday.
In the pro-am of the most unique event on the Indian Tour, being played on the modified Stableford scoring format, Bhalotia and team tallied +50 points to beat the team led by Shiv Shankar Prasad Chowrasia, who tallied 44 points. Feroz Ali and his team came third with 33 points.
Paes, who recently won the Australian Open mixed doubles title with the legendary Martina Navratilova, showed he was no bunny off the tee. Playing to a handicap of 23, he made nett eagles on three holes -- first, fourth and 14th. This was Paes's first victory as a golfer.
Paes's teammate Chadha contributed by making nett eagles on the 17th and 18th. Bhalotia, who hails from the same town as Paes and are regular tennis partners, accumulated +7 points for the team, which included a stretch of five holes starting from the fourth, where he birdied each of them.
Chowrasia grossed nine points, but his team of Sanjay Prakash, Gurbir Bhurjee and Puneet Matta made his job easy. In fact, Matta was the star performer of the team, tallying +25 points playing to handicap of 13.
Feroz's team comprised Suvir Ahuja, Vijay Chauhan and Pradeep Patel. Feroz's addition to the aggregate was a healthy +8 points.
Yusuf Ali, who finished second to Mukesh in the main tournament, scored a hole-in-one on the 187-yard par-3 sixth hole with a perfect 5-iron shot. The Kolkata pro received a cheque of Rs 5,000 for his effort. He also finished the day with the best score among the pros, shooting a +10.
The prizes were given away after the tournament by Mr S Raghunandhan, Business Development Director, DHL Worldwide Express.
The pro-am of the DHL Challenge was played on the modified Stableford format. A par was worth 0 points, a birdie +2, an eagle +5 and an albatross +8. On the other hand, a bogey was worth -1 point and double bogey or worse were -3. The pro score was mandatory, while the two best amateurs scores were counted on each holes.