From the publishers of THE HINDU

VOL.33 :: NO.47 :: Nov. 25, 2010

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GOLF / BILT OPEN

Lahiri proves his class

It was the Bangalore golfer's fifth pro victory and third of the season. He has indeed come a long way since 2005 when he was among the top amateur golfers. By Kalyan Ashok.

K. BHAGYA PRAKASH

It was a memorable outing for Anirban Lahiri. The 23-year-old golfer from Bangalore successfully defended his title in the BILT Open at the Karnataka Golf Association course on October. 30.

It was Lahiri's fifth pro victory of his career and third of the season after Amby Valley and Oxford Golf & Country Club in Delhi. Lahiri has indeed come a long way since 2005, when he was among the top amateur golfers in the country.

He totalled 11 under 277 for the week to take home the winner's cheque of Rs.16,16,500. The victory also helped him claim the top spot in the 2010 Rolex rankings.

After identical scores of four under 68 in the first two rounds, Lahiri wrested the lead from Amardip Sinh Malik in the third round with a one under 71. Malik had opened a huge lead in the first round with blistering eight under 64 — a KGA course record. But he failed to sustain it.

Lahiri did not have a good start. He began with a bogey on the first hole. At that stage he was the joint leader with Malik.

Though Lahiri struggled quite a bit with his putting, he made up for it with his short game. Two birdies by the eighth hole saw him gain a two-stroke lead, and by the 15th he was virtually in the driver's seat as Malik's challenge faded away. Malik bogeyed on the last two holes.

“It was great to defend the title at home, though I was not pleased with my shots in the final round. But I stayed focussed and kept my lead intact after the third hole. That turned out to be crucial,” said the champion.

Malik finished second, four strokes behind Lahiri, with seven under 281. “It is matter of experience and I hope to do well with lot more exposure at this level,” said the youngster from Meerut.

Another consistent performer was Vijay Kumar (Delhi). With three rounds of two under 70, he was virtually at the heels of Lahiri and Mailk. He, however, fell short with a par 72 in the final round. Vijay Kumar (six under 282) and Ajeetesh Sandhu (five under 283) finished third and fourth respectively.

BILT Open made it to the South for the first time, and playing in this Rs. 10 million prize money event, one of the richest tournaments in the country, was indeed a rewarding experience for most golfers.

THE SCORES

1. Anirban Lahiri 277 (68, 68, 71, 70), 2. Amardip Sinh Malik 281 (64, 71, 73, 73), 3. Vijay Kumar 282 (70, 70, 70, 72), 4. Ajeetesh Sandhu 283 (69, 73, 70, 71), 5. Ashok Kumar 284 (70, 74, 71, 69), 6. Ganganjeet Bhullar 284 (75, 65, 74, 70), 7. Himmat Singh Rai 284 (73, 70, 69, 72), 8. Digvijay Singh 284 (70, 70, 71, 73), 9. Shamim Khan 285 (67, 74, 74, 70), 10. Manav Jaini 285 (69, 69, 73, 74)



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