Jaideep asserts supremacy

Jaideep Patwardhan holds aloft the trophy. — Pic. K. BHAGYA PRAKASH-

THERE are a number of big names in amateur golf too. Shiv Kapur, Keshav Misra, Gagan Verma, Simarjeet Singh, Jaideep Patwardhan, Manav Das and former cricket star Kapil Dev, all play the game very seriously. All these amateurs, along with a number of promising juniors such as Jaskirat Dullet and Aditya Singh — who have now climbed into the amateur ranks — were present at the second leg of the amateur tour at the Bangalore Golf Course.

Excellent weather conditions, a tight and challenging course and a highly competitive field was the set-up for the Bangalore Golf Course Amateur tournament. On the day prior to the start of the 72-hole tournament, Simarjeet Singh achieved a landmark in his career scoring a hole-in-one on the par three third hole at the BGC. Teeing off with a Taylor Made 8 iron, Simarjeet soon heard cheers and shouts from the ball spotters 155 yards away at the hole. Simarjeet's brisk walk to the green was met with elation as they informed him of the rare feat.

Bangalore looks to be Simarjeet's happy hunting ground. He won his first-ever amateur national title at the Eagleton course last year. This year he scored his first hole-in-one. However, he did not have such a good outing at the BGC.

The Bangalore Golf Club's Amateur tournament was Jaideep Patwardhan's from the start. Carding a superb four under 66 (the only below par score for the day) to establish a four-stroke lead over Asian Games gold medallist Shiv Kapur, Jaideep remained atop the leaderboard on all four days to establish his supremacy right through the championship. Day two saw Jaideep's form drop a bit with a score of two over par 72. Gagan Verma and Simarjeet Singh shone in the second round with scores of par 70 to show some semblance of a challenge along with Shiv Kapur, but Jaideep sustained his lead in the third round too.

Another two over par in the third round meant that Jaideep had allowed his lead (over Shiv Kapur and Keshav Misra) to drop to three strokes. Keshav came up with a one under 69, while Vikrant Chopra came up with a two under 68.

Jaideep kept a level head going into the final day. The Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) golfer came up with a repeat performance of his first day and breezed to the title with another four under 66 card. Displaying a lot of concentration, Jaideep saved a par on the seventh, which boosted his confidence tremendously. A hat-trick of birdies (8th, 9th and 10th) saw him step on the accelerator and by the 15th hole the title was all but stamped, sealed and delivered.

Keshav Misra played well over the last two holes but he only succeeded in closing the gap slightly. Shiv Kapur ended up second, four strokes behind Jaideep, and acknowledged defeat graciously. Jaideep spent the break between the BGC and the Eagleton tournament rushing off to Tirumala to offer prayers.

The results:

1. Jaideep Patwardhan (66, 72, 72, 66) 276; 2. Shiv Kapur (70, 73, 70, 69) 282; Keshav Misra (73, 71, 69, 71) 284; Vikrant Chopra (72, 74, 68, 71) 285; Simarjeet Singh (74, 70, 72, 72) 288. — D. Ravi Shankar