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October 6, 2002 | 1300 IST

Shiv Kapur wins individual golf gold

Young Indian golfer Shiv Kapur came up with brilliant performance on a wet day to earn his country its second gold medal of the 14th Asian Games in Busan on Sunday.

Earlier, Yasin Merchant and Rafath Habib had won India's first gold medal in snooker doubles.

Kapur's gold medal in the individual golf event swelled India's medal tally at the Games to two gold, two silver and two bronze.

This is the second time India has won the gold medal in golf at the Asian Games. Laxman Singh had won the gold medal at the Delhi Asiad in 1982, when the discipline was introduced.

The 20-year-old Shiv fired another fine two under-70 fourth round in conditions unconducive for good golf to emerge on top of the heap.

As it rained the whole night and early morning, the start of the day's play had to be delayed. But the Indian ace kept his cool and negotiated the course, which was rendered treacherous, like a seasoned golfer.

Expectedly, he was on top of the world after his triumph.

"It was a big decision to come down from the United States, where I train, for the trials a couple of months back; but now it all seems worth it," said Kapur, who had topped the trials, which were played played over four different courses in Delhi.

"I hope this win will help amateur golf in India. Personally, it is a landmark for me.

"I hope this success will continue," he added.

Shiv beat his nearest rival, yesterday's joint leader with him, Rohana Anura of Sri Lanka by three strokes.

The young Rohana ended up with a silver while Japan's Yusaku Miyazat took the bronze.

However, a poor showing by three Shiv's team mates cost India a medal in the team event, as India finished fourth, behind Chinese Taipei, Korea and Japan.

Shiv, who hails from Delhi, had first three rounds of 70, 75, 69. This morning he seized his chance by playing some superb golf at the Asiad Country Club.

He started with a flourish, making his intentions clear. He hit a birdie on the second, but then double faulted in the very next hole. The Indian again fumbled at the eighth, but after that regained his composure and never looked back.

He shot three birdies on the ninth, 11th and 14th and played par on other holes. He ended the round with four birdies and two bogies. While going out he had two birdies and two bogies, but his coming back was more steady as he had two birdies and seven pars. He totalled four under 284 for the title.

The three other Indians were a let down, with Manav Das hitting a three over 75 fourth round to finish joint 22nd with a total of 307 (74, 74, 84, 75); Keshav Mishra ended at joint 35th slot, as he carded a poor nine over 81 in his last round. He aggregated 317 (82, 80, 74, 81). He had aweful round of 19 over par 91. Prasad totalled 331 (82, 78, 80, 91).

Das came up with one birdie and four bogeys; Keshav Misra had three birdies and 12 bogets to his credit and Harender Prasad dropped 19 strokes with a string of triple bogeys and even a five-plus on the par three third.

Rohana Anura had a one over par round and with a total of 287 (71, 70, 73, 73) while Yusaku Miyazato, with 292, was way behind the Indian but managed bronze with scores of 78, 70, 71, 73.

In the team event, the gold went to Chinese Taipei, who had a total of 874. The silver went to Korea, with 884, while Japan was third, with 885.

India and Sri Lanka were placed joint fourth with 902 each.

The Indian officials accompanying the team, SC Aparajit and Shantha Kumar, a member of the Indian Golf Union, were elated over Shiv's success.

"This surely is a great day for Indian golf," enthused Shantha Kumar.

"For 20 years since Bunny Lakshman Singh and Rajiv Mohta won individual honours and then team gold, Indian golf has not had any success, but now this makes up," said Aparajit.

"Shiv displayed a lot of maturity and skill and showed that he can handle all conditions as he played very well on a rainy day, when things were rather tricky and scores went very high for a lot of golfers."

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