Thrilling fare from junior golfers

The winners at the Eagleton Golf Resort (from left): Ajeetesh Sandhu (B section), Rommel Majumdar (D section), Kanishk Madan (C section) and Gaganjeet Bhullar (A section).-The winners at the Eagleton Golf Resort (from left): Ajeetesh Sandhu (B section), Rommel Majumdar (D section), Kanishk Madan (C section) and Gaganjeet Bhullar (A section).

THE 70-plus contingent of junior and sub-junior golfers from all over the country had a taste of what a double-header tournament could be like.

Teeing off from the Eagleton Golf Resort for a four-round tournament, the juniors then headed to the more compact Bangalore Golf Club for another 72 holes of challenging competition. The under-10 year-olds however played only 54 holes in both the tournaments.

This year the Indian Golf Union, which conducts the tournaments for kids, decided to play as many legs during the summer vacation itself, thus giving the children more time for their academics. The IGU categorised tournaments kicked off at the Jaypee Greens and then the caravan headed down south for the cooler climate than the hot northern plains.

Despite the lack of rain, Eagleton's course looked in fine shape. Young Gaganjeet Bhullar, a relative rookie in the highest age category, playing just his second competitive tournament in the `A' section, started off with a bang returning a card of one under 71 on the opening day to signal his intent on making the competition a memorable one. Jaskirat Dullet also opened up well, a stroke behind the leader, while Anirban Lahiri's tied first-day score with Dullet proved to be a flash in the pan.

Ajeetesh Sandhu, who had scored an upset win in the highest class at the Jaypee Greens tournament, was firmly in control in his own section (`B' Category) despite young Amaniyot Singh from Jaipur being only a stroke in arrears. Madhav Soi also made an impressive start pulling into a five-stroke lead over local boy Pritam Maridass.

As in many of the professional golf tournaments, where the early leader increases the lead in the second round, Gaganjeet too carded his second successive under par score and broke into a five-stroke lead over Jaskirat Dullet. In the `B' section Amanjyot Singh, despite a two-stroke penalty for unwarranted advice from his father, headed the first day's leader Ajeetesh, while Madhav Soi found Kanishk Madan closing in on him. The under-10s, who had joined the tournament on the second day, saw Raghav Bhandari topping the day's score.

The penultimate day's proceedings in the `A' section went pretty much the same way, while Ajeetesh regained his lead in the `B' section. Madhav Soi and Kanishk Madan were on level terms but in the under-10 section Rommel Majudmar was gaining ground on Raghav Bhandari.

It was a superb finish on the final day, especially in the senior section. Jaskirat Singh Dullet steadily bridged the gap between himself and Gaganjeet and on the 18th hole actually had a great chance to grab the title. A fairly easy putt for the title went abegging and Jaskirat only managed to take the competition into a sudden death. Gaganjeet, relieved with fact that Jaskirat had failed to cash in, did not wait for another chance and with his first two shots set himself up for a win. Jaskirat's journey from bunker to bunker and his poor recovery shots saw him surrender the title.

Ajeetesh played brilliantly to win by a huge margin in the 13 to 14 year age group while Kanishk Madan pegged back Madhav Soi to win the `C' section. Rommel Majumdar was a one-stroke winner in the under-10 section.

In the second leg at the Bangalore Golf Club, it was young Aditya Singh who made a superb start. A four under 66 by Aditya was the highlight of the opening day while Jaskirat Singh Dullet played to par. Ajeetesh Sandhu continued his form from Eagleton and led the `B' section, while Rahul Bakshi was in the forefront in his age group (11 to 13 years).

Day two at the BGC saw Jaskirat again playing to par while Aditya Singh played three over. Aditya's lead however had been shortened to just a stroke, making the tournament head for a blazing finish. Ajeetesh was firmly in the driving seat, pushing to a nine-stroke lead, while Madhav Soi and Rahul Bakshi were joint leaders in the `C' Group. Rommel Majumdar relished the short BGC course playing to ten over. Ajeetesh virtually clinched the title on the third day itself in the `B' section with an 18-stroke lead. Rahul Bakshi also stepped up the pace in his age group and Rommel went into an unassailable lead in the under-10s.

As in Eagleton, the final day's competition proved to be thrilling in the `A' section. Aditya and Jaskirat had level scores on the 12th hole when Jaskirat fired an amazing eagle on the 14th. Jaskirat, in fact, missed an albatross by a small margin and from then on it was Jaskirat all the way. Aditya was unlucky as many of his putts for birdie stopped agonisingly short.

Ajeetesh was unchallenged in his age group as was Rommel Majumdar. Rahul Bakshi packed too many guns in the `C' section, winning by a comfortable margin as Madhav Soi failed to launch a serious challenge.

The results (winners only):

At Eagleton: `A' section: Gaganjeet Bhullar (71, 71, 76, 77) 295; `B' section: Ajeetesh Sandhu (78, 78, 76, 76) 308; `C' section: Kanishk Madan (82, 81, 83, 80) 326; `D' section: Rommel Majumdar (94, 88, 87) 269.

At Bangalore Golf Club: `A' section: Jaskirat Singh Dullet (70, 70, 70, 72) 282; `B' section: Ajeetesh Sandhu (71, 72, 70, 74) 237; `C' section: Rahul Bakshi (82, 83, 77, 77) 319; `D' section: Rommel Majumdar (80, 76, 78) 234.

D. Ravi Shankar