Amardeep strikes it rich

Amardeep Singh Malik, the Meerut based 18-year-old, pulled off a stunning one stroke win, at the Eagleton Golf Resort, over seasoned amateurs to clinch his second major title in his four-year old golfing career.

Avinash Nair

Amardeep Singh (right), the champion, with the runner-up Keshav Misra. — Pic. G. P. SAMPATH KUMAR-

Amardeep Singh Malik, the Meerut based 18-year-old, pulled off a stunning one stroke win, at the Eagleton Golf Resort, over seasoned amateurs to clinch his second major title in his four-year old golfing career. "I am comfortable playing my regulation game... and if I feel something is achievable I go for it,'' said the confident lad.

Amardeep is a fan of Jyoti Randhawa and is all praise for his fellow Meerut golfer. "He's amazing, he's so cool most of the time that I wonder what would bring pressure on that man.'' Amardeep himself claims that his two hours of meditation every evening has made him mentally strong. "No, I was not tensed at all. That was for the leading bunch to chalk it out. Being in the second group made it that much more easy for me. Since I did not know what was happening ahead I managed to play my natural game and though was trailing till the 15th hole, Manav Das (who was in the same group) encouraged me. Though he was playing bad himself he had words of encouragement for me and it paid off,'' said Amardeep.

Amardeep came up with a hat-trick of birdies for the title, beating Keshav Misra and Jaskirat Singh Dullet by a stroke to win the glittering trophy, with a score of 281 over.

Going into the last hole, Jaskirat needed a birdie to clinch the issue. It was not to be, despite a good effort from the bunker. A par score only heightened the tension as Misra returned with a scintillating round of five under 67 on a day when most others struggled. But then all eyes were on Amardeep's long shot — a 45-yarder that rolled about two feet away from the hole and it was all over bar the cheering. The youngster kept his cool and putted in style. Only when the others rushed towards him for a hug did the Meerut lad realise his title triumph.

If Amardeep did have an off day, on the third day, carding a one over, Jaskirat was steady throughout. The wiry-lad from Patiala's Black Elephant Golf Club pegged away without much frills. But for the missed birdie in the 18th hole on the final day, he would have emerged a clear winner. For Jaskirat this was the second time unlucky having lost to Gaganjeet Bhullar last year at this very same course. Amardeep on the other hand had both his triumphs in Bangalore, the earlier one at the All India Amateur junior championship, at KGA in 2002.

Amardeep also had a word of praise for his caddie-Harsha. "He was indeed good and most of the time his reading was perfect. I thank him immensely,'' Amardeep said.

The first year B.Com student from Meerut College is giving himself about three more years in the Amateur circuit. "I shall be turning pro most probably in another three years, by the age of 21.''

What next? And Amardeep has his eyes set on the Northern India Open in Delhi.

In the next few years make optimum use of the opportunity and do well consistently is Amardeep's motto.

The course played true on the first two days. Girish Virk of Chandigarh Golf Club, Gagan Verma of Delhi Golf Club, Jasjeet Singh (Noida) and Vikranth Chopra of Army Golf Club, New Delhi began on sensational note, equalling the course record of Simarkeet Singh set last year, with a five under 67.

The Sardar, who has more title triumphs in Sri Lanka (three in a row) as against a lone win in India, struck a purple patch with a six under on day two. Manav Das recovered, with a four under, after a miserable day one when he lost the ball and was penalised for using a new one. But ultimately, Manav failed to string his game together on the last day and faltered to finish a distant 14th.

Delhi Golf Club's Keshav Misra, like Manav a seasoned golfer in the Amateur circuit, started rather tentatively with a two under and then improved marginally to be five under midway through the tournament. On the final day Kesav strung a superb five under 67. Only a stroke separated him from the ultimate champion in the end.

The top 15: 1. Amardeep Singh Malik 68-70-73-70 — 281; 2. Keshav Misra 70-69-76-67 — 282; 3. Jaskirat Singh Dullet 68-69-71-74 — 282; 4. Shaurya Singh 69-72-73-70 — 284; 5. Vikranth Chopra 67-70-76-71 — 284; 6. Simarjeet Singh 70-66-74-74 — 284; 7. Vikram Rana 70-67-72-75 — 284; 8. Gagan Verma 67-72-72-75 — 286; 9. Jaideep Patwardhan 72-76-70-70 — 288; 10. Jasjeet Singh 67-74-78-71 — 290; 11. Manav Das 76-67-68-80 — 291; 12. Anitya Chand 73-74-71-74 — 292; 13. Joseph Chakola 74-70-74-74 — 292; 14. Mandeo S. Pathania 74-75-74-70 — 293; 15. Karanjit Singh 73-75-71-75 — 294.