Arjun Singh in roaring form

He rarely shows emotion while on the golf course. Birdies, Eagles and bogeys mean little to him as he prepares for the next hole. While some golfers may take out their wrath on the poor caddie or their equipment (bent putters or broken drivers are becoming increasingly common on the course), Arjun Singh remains unflappable.

D. RAVI SHANKAR

He rarely shows emotion while on the golf course. Birdies, Eagles and bogeys mean little to him as he prepares for the next hole. While some golfers may take out their wrath on the poor caddie or their equipment (bent putters or broken drivers are becoming increasingly common on the course), Arjun Singh remains unflappable. Not for nothing is he referred to as `The Iceman' from Delhi. Arjun Singh incidentally has been in ominous form since the commencement of the Professional Golfers Association of India and Hero Honda golf tour for 2003.

When the tour kicked off with the Kashmir Open, Arjun Singh did well to finish a joint second along with Harmeet Kahlon. Giving the Cotton City Open at Coimbatore a miss, Arjun scripted an amazing 20 under par record-breaking win at the TNGF-Kone Open at Chennai. In just over a month Arjun Singh had cashed winnings of Rs. 3,19,500 with a title win (at Chennai) and a runner-up slot (at Kashmir). With such rousing form preceding him, Arjun was the one to beat at the Bangalore leg of the tour. The 33-year-old Delhi Golf Club golfer has had some great moments on the various courses in and outside the country. Two years ago, Arjun scorched his home course to win the Honda Siel 2001 starting that tournament with a brilliant eight under round for the opening day. At Chennai this year Arjun Singh improved to second position after 36 holes and on the final day unleashed a superb effort to win the tournament with a record breaking 20 under par for the 72 hole cumulative.

He was now back in Bangalore where he had won the Classic Masters in 1996 his best effort since turning professional in 1994.

Arjun was off to a tardy start in the Hero Honda Open South, carding a one over par 73 score for the first round. On day two, he had paced himself to be one stroke shy of the trio who led after two rounds and on the penultimate day sparkled with a six under 66 to open up a three stroke lead. Arjun had every chance of establishing a new course record when on the 17th hole he had equalled the record of seven under for the day. Arjun however was only able to come up with a bogey on the 18th thereby ending with a six under for the day.

Gaurav Ghei took the runner-up slot with a card of 285. -- Pic. K. ANANTHAN-

A fair crowd of regular golfers accompanied the trio of Arjun Singh, Gaurav Ghei and Digvijay Singh for the final 18 holes. A dropped shot on the second hole was the wake up call for Arjun. A brilliant eagle on the par five fifth hole demoralised his rivals on the leaderboard and back to back birdies from ten feet on the ninth and tenth holes put him firmly in control for the title. Eight pars on the trot from the 11th saw Arjun take the title with a lead of seven strokes. All the competition on the final day was for the runner-up slot. Digvijay Singh and Gaurav Ghei went with level scores all the way up to the 18th hole where Gaurav Ghei played a breathtaking second shot from the fairway to set himself up for a birdie on the last hole.

Digvijay knew he was beaten, when he managed only a second shot into the rough and ended up with a bogey. Gaurav duly putted for birdie and pocketed the runner-up cheque.

In the amateurs section Chennai based Gurunath Meiyappan took the title after a keen contest with local hope David d'Souza. Gurunath who was pitchforked into the contest without any practice as he had driven in to the city only on the day prior to the start of the contest had the best cards on the first and third days. He was also lucky that David played some pretty bad golf on those two days to give Gurunath a valuable lead.

The results: Professionals: 1. Arjun Singh (73,70,66,69) 278; 2. Gaurav Ghei (71,72,70,72) 285; 3. Digvijay Singh (69,74,69,75) 287. Amateurs: 1. Gurunath Meiyappan ( 76,76,81,76) 309; 2. David d'Souza (83,73,83,74) 313; 3. Abhishek Ahlawat (80,75,97,81) 323.