Kolkata: Delhi lad Shubhankar Sharma dashed Viraj Madappa’s dreams of becoming the youngest champion when he beat the local lad 3 & 2 in the final to capture the prestigious 112th Tata Steel Amateur Golf Championship of India which culminated at the Royal Calcutta Golf Club here on Sunday.
“It is an amazing feeling to win the biggest and most prestigious tournament,” said the champion who incidentally recorded his first victory on the Tata Steel IGU Amateur Tour. In a dazzling prize presentation ceremony, five times National champion Ashok Malik was felicitated by the Tata Steel, the umbrella sponsors of the Tata Steel IGU Amateur Tour. It was also heartening to see all the presidents of the various clubs based in Kolkata join in for the celebrations.
The 36-hole final proved to be a thriller of sorts for a golfing fan with the two youngsters matching stroke by stroke. The first 18 holes saw Shubhankar making five birdies while Viraj fired four with the former returning a gross score of 3-under par while the latter was 1-under at the breather. It was Viraj who drew the first blood when he birdied the opening hole to go 1-up. The lead remained shot-lived as Shubhankar took control of the match since then although Viraj was remained in the hunt. It was not until the 11th hole that Viraj found his wonted form but by then he was 4-down. After both halved the next seven holes, Viraj birdied the final hole to reduce the margin to 3-down after 18 holes.
After the break, Viraj birdied the 20th hole to further reduce the margin to 2-down. In a see-saw battle, Shubhankar birdied the 22nd hole (4th hole of the course) to regain the 3-up advantage. By the 31st hole, the fighting Viraj fired two birdies and reduced the margin to 1-down. However, Shubhankar made two consecutive birdies on the 32nd and 33rd holes respectively as Viraj managed pars to take a 3-up lead with three holes to go. Both halved the next hole with pars as Shubhankar leapt with joy.
“My driving had been a bit of a problem and I worked on it at the range yesterday. Today, I I really hit the ball well,” said Shubhankar who has sacrificed regular schooling and is a student of National Institute of Open Schooling so that he can dedicate more time to the sport. “It is a mixed feeling for me as although I won the title, my heart goes out to Viraj who is a very dear friend of mine. He made a superb comeback in the last 18 but the birdies on the 14th and 15th sealed the issue,” said the 16 and a half-year-old Shubhankar.
Meanwhile in the IGU Royal Trophy held for the members, Sunny Uthup won in the 0-14 category while SS Das and Harvinder Singh captured the title in the 15-18 and 19 & above handicap categories respectively.
Results 36-hole final
Shubhankar Sharma (3) bt Viraj Madappa (5) 3 & 2
By Indian Sports News Network