South African second seed Norman Beggs produced a heroic comeback in the third round of the Eveready 103rd All-India Amateur Golf Championship, the second oldest golf tournament in the world after the British Open, when he virtually came back from the death and beat unseeded Sujjan Singh on the second play-off hole on Thursday.
At the par-72 Royal Calcutta Golf Club, Beggs was five-down after 10 holes and three-down with three holes to play before winning the last three holes on a trot, to force a tie-break. Both players halved the first hole with pars, and on the par-3 second, Beggs made a regulation par as against a bogey from Sujjan to secure his place in the round of 16.
The top five seeds - Manav Das (Ambala, India), Beggs, BG Lalithakumara (Sri Lanka), James Smith (England) and Matthew Kent (SA) - made it to the pre-quarter round.
Top seed and defending champion Das got the better of a battling Amardeep Singh Malik 2&1, Lalithakumara looked comfortable in his 3&2 win over RCGC Cup winner Girish Virk, while Smith was stretched to the 17th hole before winning 2&1 against Jasjeet Singh.
Kent was the biggest winner of the day, as he recorded a 5&4 win over Amit Nigam.
Surya Prakash, the 15-year-old La Martiniere student who upset the sixth seed Harinder Gupta yesterday, fought tooth and nail before losing 3&1 to Punjab Police's Balwinder Singh Mattu.
L Selvadurai of ONGC, who disposed off the 11th seed Waqas Ahmed of Pakistan yesterday, lost 4&3 to Vikram Rana of Delhi.
The turning point for Beggs, the No 1 amateur in South Africa, came on the 16th hole when he made a birdie to reduce the deficit.
"After that I started thinking that if I can apply pressure on him by simply playing regulation golf, he might just crack up. I think that is exactly what happened.
Otherwise, he was playing excellent golf and I did not win a single hole till the 10th," said Beggs.
The pre-quarters will feature eight Indians and eight foreign players.
(Third round - Seedings in prefix and country in parenthesis):
1-Manav Das bt Amardeep S Malik 2&1; Joseph Chakola bt 16-Alec Pettigrew (HK) W/O; 9-Vikrant Chopra bt Akshay Butta 3&2; 8-Paul O'Hara (Sco) bt Sanjeev Mehra 1-up; 5-Matthew Kent (SA) bt Amit Nigam 5&4; 21-Saurav Bahuguna bt 12-Tommy Hunter (Eng) 3&2; 13-Jaideep Patwardhan bt 20-Sandy Lehal 2-up; Vikram Rana bt L Selvadurai 4&3; 3-BG Lalithakumara (SL) bt Girish Virk 3&2; 19-Andrew Rollo (Sco) bt S Karthikeya 1-up; 10-CB Bhandari (Nep) bt Anirudh Goyal 3&2; Balwinder Mattu bt Surya Prakash 3&1; 7-Shahid Javed Khan (Pak) bt Manav Jaini 3&1; 4-James Smith (Eng) bt 23-Jasjeet Singh 2&1; 15-Simarjeet Singh bt 18-Anitya Chand 3&2; 2-Norman Beggs (SA) bt Sujjan Singh 20th hole.