Tag Archives: IndianOil Servo Masters

Golf: Veer Ahlawat wards off Mukesh Kumar’s challenge to win his maiden title

Newsroom24x7 Network

Digboi: Gurugram’s Veer Ahlawat  struck an even-par-72 on the last day to emerge victorious  in a humdinger of a contest by one shot at 15-under-273 after seeing off a tough challenge from veteran Mukesh Kumar of Mhow at the Rs. 60 lakh IndianOil Servo Masters  played at the Digboi Golf Links here..

The 23-year-old Ahlawat (69-64-68-72), in his fourth season as a professional, thus ended a long wait for his breakthrough win. Ahlawat, fresh from his career-best Asian Tour finish of tied eighth at the Panasonic Open India last week, also continued his hot streak as a result of his sensational triumph. The victory lifted Veer from seventh to third place in the 2019 TATA Steel PGTI Order of Merit.

 Mukesh Kumar (74-67-65-68) and Bengaluru’s M Dharma (67-67-70-70) finished tied second at 14-under-274. Mukesh’s dramatic last round 68 brought him within sniffing distance of a record seventh title at Digboi.

 Veer Ahlawat, the runner-up in 2017, had a slow start like his previous rounds when he bogeyed the first after missing a short putt. However, the six-foot four-inch tall golfer from the DLF Golf & Country Club, then capitalized with birdies on the first three par-5s, the seventh, ninth and 11th, at the cost of a bogey on the 10th.

Meanwhile Mukesh Kumar came up with some great iron shots to land it close and set up birdie conversions within four feet on six of the first 11 holes. Mukesh had tied Veer for the lead after 11 holes.

The 54-year-old Mukesh’s title prospects became bright when Ahlawat conceded a two-shot lead to him after making a double-bogey on the 14th where he had an ordinary second shot and a three-putt. But the long-hitting Veer kept his nerve and came right back into the contest with a 17-feet eagle conversion on the par-5 15th to draw level with Mukesh once again.

The drama continued with Mukesh, a former Asian Tour winner, struggling with his putting on the final stretch as he made three-putt bogeys on the 17th and 18th to hand Ahlawat, playing one group behind him, a precious two-shot lead.

Ahlawat, who lost out in a playoff to Shamim Khan at the 2017 edition, was not to be denied this time around as he made a brilliant recovery on the 17th with a chip-in for par after finding the hazard with his tee shot. Veer finally sealed the title despite a bogey on the last hole.

Veer, who proved his mettle by neutralizing the threat from Mukesh’s final day charge, said, “I just played in my natural attacking style. I missed some short putts early on in the round but more than made up by capitalizing on all the four par-5s. I was five-under on the par-5s in round four with an eagle and three birdies.

“The 17th was the crucial hole for me as I knew that I had to at least make a par there in order to have a comfortable two-shot lead going into the last hole which would almost seal my win. I was in trouble with my first two shots on that hole but luckily I got relief with a free drop after my second shot. Thereafter, the chip-in came just at the right time for me and gave me that two-shot cushion going into the last hole which helped me relax and raised my confidence.

“It’s a big relief to finally get a title under my belt as I had come close to winning on a few occasions in the past. I struck the ball really well this week and also chipped and putted well. I made the par-5s count through the tournament and my driving distance was a big positive. I averaged about 310 yards with my drives.

“My good form continues as I had a terrific outing at the Asian Tour event last week as well. I would now look to carry this form to the last few events of the season. I’m looking at making a huge improvement on my previous best finish on the PGTI Order of Merit which was 11th in 2018,” added the lanky Ahlawat, the son of an Army officer.

Veer collected a prize purse of Rs. 9,69,900 and five valuable Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points for his victory in Digboi. He is now set to make major gains from his current world ranking of 1094 when the updated world rankings are released on Monday.

M Dharma’s short-game was not up to his expectations on the final day as he picked up four birdies but also conceded two bogeys during his 70 and never really seemed to be in a position to take the lead.

Bengaluru’s Abhishek Jha (71) took fourth place at 13-under-275.Shamim Khan of Delhi, the winner of the last two editions, finished tied 24th at four-under-284.

HSB

Golf: In-form Veer Ahlawat emerges leader after 2nd round with a 64

Newsroom24x7 Network

Digboi, (Assam ): Gurugram’s Veer Ahlawat, fired an eight-under-64 to take the halfway lead at the Rs  Rs. 60- lakh  prize money  IndianOil Servo Masters  at the Digboi Golf Links. 

The 2017 runner-up Ahlawat totaled 11-under-133 on day two. Kolkata’s Divyanshu Bajaj returned a 65 to rise to tied second at 10-under-134. Bajaj was joined by Bengaluru golfers, M Dharma (67), his playing partner and overnight leader Abhishek Jha (68) in tied second.

The cut came down at one-over-145. Fifty-four professionals made the cut. All the six Digboi-based professionals missed the cut.

Veer Ahlawat (69-64), who was overnight tied eighth and three off the lead, began with an early bogey on the third where he found the hazard. However, the long-hitting Veer soon made amends thanks to his fabulous driving as he picked up birdies on the fifth, seventh and ninth.

Veer  who lost out in a playoff to Shamim Khan at the 2017 edition of the event, went on to add an eagle and four more birdies on the back-nine to power his way to the top of the leaderboard. The six-foot four-inch tall Veer drove the green on the par-four 14th before sinking a 17-footer for an eagle-two.

 “I’m carrying the confidence from the outstanding finish I had at the Classic Golf & Country Club during the Panasonic Open India last week. It was my best ever result on the Asian Tour. I drove really well, hit it straight and hardly missed a putt today. I managed to hang in there despite a poor start as I was one-over through the first four holes.

“My driving average has been 310 yards of late which has helped me set up relatively easier approaches to the greens. There is a premium on hitting the fairways at this venue. I made most fairways and thus created a lot of opportunities.

“I have some good memories from this course having finished runner-up here in 2017 and posting a tied 10th in 2018. Those good results add to my confidence going into the money rounds,” added Ahlawat, who is currently in seventh position on the TATA Steel PGTI Order of Merit” Veer said.

Divyanshu Bajaj’s (69-65) error-free 65 came as a result of his much-improved iron-play on day two as he hit it closer as compared to round one. Divyanshu also had four birdie conversions from a range of 10 to 15 feet. Bajaj thus gained six spots form his overnight tied eighth.

M Dharma (67-67) shot a second straight 67 to hold on to his overnight joint second position. Dharma, in good putting form on the first two days, mixed six birdies with a bogey on Thursday. He missed an eagle by a whisker on the seventh where his chip almost found the hole.

Abhishek Jha (66-68),, slipped to tied second after a 68 that featured seven birdies and three bogeys. He rallied with birdies on his last four holes

 Om Prakash Chouhan (70) of Mhow occupies fifth place at seven-under-137. Six-time winner Mukesh Kumar of Mhow and Delhi’s Chiragh Kumar were tied 13th at three-under-141. Three-time winner and defending champion Shamim Khan of Delhi was placed tied 29th at one-under-143.

  Teenager Kshitij Naveed Kaul of Delhi, ranked fourth on the PGTI Order of Merit, the highest in the current field, missed the cut by one shot.

HSB