New Delhi: It was the first time for Sri Lankan number one N. Thangaraja to win a tournament outside the Emerald Isle, and in that NCR Cup got its first international winner in the 7 years history. At the Delhi Golf Club 30-year-old Raja shot three-over for the total of five-under 283 to clinch the title while Delhi lad Honey Baisoya kept struggling with his putting as he scored three-over for the total of three-under 285 to finish second. There was a tie between Baisoya and Noida’s Jasjeet Singh (GAIL) as Singh also carded three-under for the total of three-over 285 for the third position. Baisoya and Jasjeet also qualified for a national amateur championship in European region and will be sponsored by Delhi Golf Society for the same.
Another Delhi lad Shubhankar Sharma, who was sixth yesterday, jumped to fourth position after shooting four-under for the total of one-under 287 while two strokes behind was All-India winner Angad Cheema at one–over 289 as fifth. The leader of day one, Mohammad Wazir hit the best round of five-under for the day but his total of three-over 291 could only get him the sixth place in a tie along with Delhi’s Arshad Ali.
Thangaraja, who set himself a target of shooting 12-under for the tournament, started the day with a bogey on 1st, double bogey on 3rd and again dropped shots on 5th and 7th. But he kept his spirits high and gained momentum when he birdied the 17th and 18th. Delighted Raja said, “I feel out of this world. When I was preparing for a shot, the wind direction was in sync with where I wanted to hit, but as soon as I use to take my stance the direction would change dramatically. That stopped me in converting the par putts into birdies but I would still take it as a blessing for me. With this win, I have also learnt to play more with the 4 and 5-iron which would definitely help avoiding the driver which I have never done.”
Winner of East India Amateur championship 2011, Baisoya faced the difficult situations from the beginning as he hit a bogey on 1st, 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th while he birdied 3rd and 18th and had 16 regulations. He said, “Despite hitting so many regulations in a round then yesterday, I couldn’t keep the control on my putting. Until 14th tee, I was tensed about winning but a bogey by Jasjeet on 14th green gave me confidence and I managed to make four pars and a birdie on the finishing hole. I am looking forward to play with Jasjeet in a tournament in one of the European countries.”
An experienced Jasjeet, who has won six national level amateur championships all across India in his career, had birdies on 4th, 8th and 12th while he bogeyed 7th, 10th, 14th and 15th including a double bogey on 9th. 33-year-old Singh said, “It was great to be in the leader group after so many years but I felt a lot of pressure on me since there were people following our group and that too at the Delhi Golf Club. I lost rhythm after 14th where I hit my 3-wood in the center fairway, my 2nd shot went into the bunker and played horrible shot on top of the green and made a bogey followed by another bogey.”
The longest drive challenge on 10th hole for 330 yards and closest to pin challenge on 17th hole for 1 feet were won by Delhi’s Lakhan Singh while Siddharth Semwal, another Delhite won the straightest drive on 6th hole. The maximum birdies challenge sponsored by Indian Express won by Honey Baisoya as he hit 18 birdies in the entire tournament.