Defending champion and second seed Vijay Kumar set up an interesting semi-final clash with sixth seed Digvijay Singh at the Rs 10 lakh SRF All India Matchplay Championship 2004, being played at the Delhi Golf Course.
Kolkata's Yusuf Ali conceded the match after the sixth hole to hand Vijay a semi-final berth while Digvijay beat Lucknow's Sanjay Kumar 3&2.
The other semi-final will be played between ninth seeded Kolkatan Rafiq Ali and 37th seed Lucknow pro Jumman. Rafiq had a 6&5 pre-quarter win over Delhi's Ali Sher while Jumman beat another Delhi golfer Shamim Khan on the
Earlier in the day, third and fourth seeds Arjun Singh (Delhi) and Mukesh Kumar (Mhow) were shown the door by 14th seed Sanjay Kumar and 45th seed Devendra Patel (Mhow) respectively.
On a tough day when temperatures soared well beyond the 40s, Vijay and Digvijay had contrasting wins on route to the semi-finals. The players were required to play both the pre-quarters and the semi-finals on Friday.
In the morning Vijay Kumar warded off Asian Tour regular, Chandigarh's Amandeep Johl 4 & 3. Thereafter, Vijay got a respite from the heat as an exhausted Yusuf Ali, trailing by two, conceded the quarter-finals after six holes.
"I am playing as well as ever before and am totally confident of defending my title," said Vijay.
"Yusuf had a tough day. He made the mistake of eating a heavy lunch and practicing between matches which got him sick," he added.
Digvijay on the other hand was stretched to the limit in his first encounter where Gaurav Ghei took the Meerut pro into the 21st hole before handing him a win. Digvijay's quarter-final match with Sanjay Kumar was no less exhausting with the former winning only on the 16th.
"I was not aware there were two matches scheduled for today," said Digvijay, who admitted the fault lay with him for not checking the draw.
"It was an exhausting day of golf but I am glad I pulled through successfully," he added.
Digvijay's battle with Gaurav nearly culminated in the latter's favour, but Gaurav, on the second play-off hole, missed an easy three-foot par-putt to extend the play-off by another hole. On the third play-off hole, Gaurav was faced with a difficult chip from the edge of the green in comparison to Digvijay's five feet birdie-putt. Gaurav missed but Digvijay didn't.
In the quarter-finals, Digvijay assumed control early on with a birdie on the opening hole. Sanjay however pulled ahead with birdies winning him the third and fifth holes. Thereafter, Digvijay caught fire to win the eighth, ninth, tenth and 12th, with all but the ninth resulting from birdies Sanjay birdied to win the 13th but Digvijay's superb second shot on the 14th saw him miss an by two inches but effectively clinched the match for him.
Important results: (Pre-quarter-finals): 32-Ali Sher bt 17-Shiv Prakash (1-up); 9-Rafiq Ali bt 8-Uttam Singh Mundy (5&4); 45-Devendra Patel bt 4-Mukesk Kumar (3&1); 37-Jumman bt 12-Pappan (4&3); 2-Vijay Kumar bt 15-Amandeep Johl (4&3); 7-Yuauf Ali bt 23-Shamim Khan (19th Hole); 14-Sanjay Kumar bt 3-Arjun Singh (1 up); 6-Digvijay Singh bt 11-Gaurav Ghei 21st hole.
(Quarter-Finals): 9-Rafiq Ali bt 32-Ali Sher (6&5); 37-Jumman bt 45 Devendra Patel (19th hole); 2-Vijay Kumar bt 7-Yusuf Ali (Match Conceded); 6-Digvijay Singh bt 14-Sanjat Kumar (3&2)