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Golf: Rory Hie keeps Rashid, others at bay to win CGCC Championship

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Indonesia’s Rory Hie warded off a strong Indian challenge as he played a flawless four-under-par 68 to win the inaugural $300,000 Classic Golf and Country Club International Championship by two shots on Sunday. 
 
At one point, Hie, Rashid Khan and Korean Byungjun Kim were all in a tie at the top of the leader-board after the 13th hole before the Indonesian ripped off three birdies in a row and Rashid bogeyed the 15th to fall two behind. That was the turning point.
 
As Hie shot 68 to finish at 21-under, Rashid stayed in the hunt till he mishit the 15th tee shot, carded 69 to reach 19-under and tie for second alongside Kim (67). Rashid’s bogey on 15th, coupled with Hie’s birdie on the same hole, ended the Indian’s chances as the Indonesian playing in India for the seventh year in a row, made no mistakes and parred the last three holes.
 
The 31-year old Indonesian, who led all  through the tournament, was determined to seal his maiden win and demonstrated that resolve with an opening birdie on the first hole. ?Despite being under intense pressure from the chasing pack, he maintained his composure by marking his card with 11 straight pars before a hat-trick of birdies from the 13th hole  to seal his victory.
 
"It was always my dream to walk up the 18th green with a two-shot lead and that’s what happened,” said Hie who became the first-ever from his country to become a title-winner on the Asian Tour against a few top-five finishes in the past on the erstwhile One Asia Tour even though he was ranked in the world’s top six as an amateur.
 
After receiving the trophy and winner’s cheque of $54,000.  he said “It’s not really sunk in yet. But this has to be the biggest day of my life, no matter what happens from here on."
 
However, there was much to cheer for the Indians as a bunch of young stars finished in prominent positions with four of them featuring in the top eight.
 
For Rashid, the finish was somewhat disappointing though he downplayed it. He had moved to within one shot of Hie overnight. On Sunday, though, he just could not ignite his challenge. “I was just one shot behind after the 14th but hit a bad shot on the 15th which I bogeyed and Rory birdied. Just could not recover from that,” said Rashid, who got his third Top-10 finish in six starts on Asian Tour this year.
 
“Today was a little up and down for me. Couldn't find the fairways in the start at the front nine and missed a lot of greens. Somewhere on the course I think I went against myself. My game is to attack the flag and I went a little safe today. Maybe it was because I was not able to find the fairways and, from the rough, it is really tough to control the ball,” he added.
 
Young  Aadil Bedi (66) in only his seventh Asian Tour start, logged his career-high fourth place at 18-under. Aman Raj (66) equalled his career-best and Abhijit Chadha (71) achieved a new personal best on Asian Tour. Both were Tied-fifth at 16-under.
 
"I found something after my chip on the 13th hole lipped out. After that, I just played more aggressive golf. Also, earlier in the week, I should have been a bit more patient and attacked the flag selectively. But this is all part of a learning process for me and I am glad to get my first top-5 finish and that too on home ground.” Aadil said.
 
There were further celebrations in store for the hosts at this Jack Nicklaus-designed course with another six players making inside Top-20 for a total of 10 among the Top-20. Veer Ahlawat (66) and Karan Pratap Singh (67) were Tied-13th at 12-under and another four Kshitij Naveed Kaul (67), Karandeep Kochhar (68), Shivendra Singh Sisodia (68) and Viraj Madappa (69) were Tied-17th at 11-under.
 
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Impressive start by Aadil Bedi, Aman Raj as Rory Hie leads at Classic Golf & Country Club Championship

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Promising Indian youngsters Aadil Bedi and Aman Raj got off to a promising start as they carded identical 5-under 67 on the opening day of the $ 300,000 Classic Golf & Country Club International Championship on Thursday.
 
Eighteen-year-old Aadil and 24-year-old Aman were  placed tied fifth, three shots behind the leader Rory Hie of Indonesia.
 
Rory Hie, still looking for his maiden Asian Tour win, shot eight-under 64, including a five-under 31, on the back nine of the course, while three Thais -- Sattaya Supupramai, who has been coming to India each year since 2008, Suradit Yongcharoenchai and Kwanchai Tannin -- were on six-under 66s at tied-second place. 
 
In the morning, Gareth Paddison of New Zealand was on fire as he raced through the back nine of the course in seven-under, before he had a triple bogey on the first, his 10th hole of the day. He ran out of birdies and also bogeyed the Par-5 ninth to finish three-under after being seven-under at one stage.
 
The other four Indians in the top 10 were Rashid Khan, Ranjit Singh, Abhijit Chadha and Himmat Rai, all placed tied-eighth with matching scores of 68.
 
Bedi started off well with a 25-feet birdie conversion on the second followed by another birdie on the third. Bedi then narrowly missed an eagle from eight feet on the ninth but managed to salvage a birdie there.
 
He had a setback when he bogeyed the 11th after finding the bunker but he roared back with three more birdies on the 14th, 16th and 18th where he drained a couple of putts from a range of six to seven feet.  
 
Bedi said, “I didn't have any expectations when I started. It's my fifth week in a row playing a tournament so I just tried to play my own game. I am trying to find my groove, stay in the game and follow my processes.
 
“I have been playing this course for over 6-7 years now. I grew up playing here and have played a lot of junior and amateur golf here. So, I know the course and what challenges it presents. 
 
“The season has been good so far. I am developing my game and have been practising hard. It is just about time when I find the right scores.
 
“I played the Monday qualifiers of the Korn Ferry Tour in the United States, finished 8th and missed just by 2 positions. I gained a lot of experience there.”
 
Aman Raj’s flawless effort featured two terrific approach shots that stopped five feet from the flag on the 16th and seventh. He also played some tremendous chip shots to set up birdies within four feet of the hole on the 14th, third and ninth.
 
Aman, a winner on the Tata Steel PGTI last year, said, “I’ve enjoyed some good starts at Asian Tour events this year but haven’t finished those events well. I guess it’s part of the learning curve for me since this is my first full season on the tour. This week I have an opportunity to make amends since I’ve gotten off to another encouraging start.
 
“I just feel my game is getting better with every passing week thanks to the experience I’m gaining by playing in Asia. I need to stick to my routine and focus on finishing the week with good scores.”
 
Rashid Khan made the turn at two-under before producing a great bunker shot on the third to set up a tap-in birdie. Khan then had another breakthrough on the par-3 fifth when his tee shot landed within a couple of feet of the flag.
 
Rashid said, “After I lost my Asian Tour card at the end of last year, I decided to play on a country spot rather than going to the Asian Tour Q School to qualify for the tour. The decision seems to be paying off for me as I’ve done well so far this season with two top-10s and a top-20.”
 
Viraj Madappa was among the 10 Indians occupying tied 18th place at 69.Chikkarangappa and Ajeetesh Sandhu were a further shot back in tied 36th place. Khalin Joshi’s 73 placed him tied 94th.
 
Jyoti Randhawa, the only Indian to have won an Asian Tour event at  this venue  started off with a 75 to be tied 124th.
 
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Golf: Chance for young Indians to show their potential against strong foreign challenge

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Bengaluru’s trio of Viraj Madappa, S Chikkarangappa and Khalin Joshi will spearhead the home challenge as they take on in-form Korean Taehee Lee and Japan’s Masahiro Kawamura at the inaugural US $300,000 Classic Golf and Country Club International Championship beginning here tomorrow.
 
Bank BRI Indonesia Open winner Miguel Carballo of Argentina will be another strong contender this week as will be South African Daniel Van Tonder, who comes in with four Top-15 finishes in last five starts on the Asian and Sunshine Tour in Africa. 
 
Sweden’s Malcolm Kokocinski, who had a very strong showing in 2018, including a maiden win in Bangladesh Open, will be also gunning for the lovely Classic Golf and Country Club International Championship Trophy and the winner’s cheque of $54,000, which is accompanied by an Asian Tour exemption till the end of 2020.
 
While Madappa, Joshi and Kokocinski achieved their maiden breakthrough wins last year and full exemption onto the Asian Tour, Taehee and Carballo have won this season to signal their arrival.
 
Another strong home challenger will be Rashid Khan, who in 11 starts this season, including the Indian PGTI Tour, has had two wins, both on the PGTI, and six other Top-10s, including two on Asian Tour.
 
Ajeetesh Sandhu, who won in Chinese Taipei in 2017 and has had five other Top-3 finishes in last two and a half seasons, will also be looking for a good finish.
 
Meanwhile, among those waiting is Chikkarangappa, who has been knocking on the door for some time and is expecting it to open any week. Kawamura won his only Asian Tour title in 2013.
 
However, when the action begins, rankings, as usual, will matter less than the ability of the players to cope with the intense heat and the course, which is hosting its first Asian Tour event since 2009.
 
The Classic Golf & Country Club, which last saw an international event 10 years ago, is in top shape and a lot tougher than it was when Thailand’s Chapchai Nirat won the Asian Tour event with a world record score of 32-under-par 256.
 
With the course conditions more challenging, Khalin Joshi looked at 16-under as a likely winning score. With a full field of 156 contesting the $300,000 event that will be played at the par-72 course over 7,114 yards, it promises to be a tough test.
 
Madappa, who scored his breakthrough Asian Tour win at the Take Solutions Masters last year, said, “It will be up to each one to adapt as best as possible here. Putting together four good rounds will be testing, but that is why we play. I have played here before but not in these conditions and while the course looks in great shape, it will demand accurate play.”
 
Van Tonder said, “I’m coming here from Jakarta where we played the Indonesian Open and have to say the heat is much more than I had expected. I knew the temperatures were expected to be on the higher side, but it will definitely be a challenge coping over four days.”
 
Madappa added, “The setup we have seen in the last two days is such that you can attack the fairways and greens, but accuracy will be the key. The roughs are testing, and you need to stay on the fairway as much as possible.”
 
Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) Chief Executive Officer Uttam Singh Mundy said, “Every opportunity we can give our players adds to their chances of making progress. Sponsorships are not easy to come by in golf, and the PGTI is grateful to the Asian Tour and to the Classic Golf and Country Club for helping provide our boys with this stage.
 
B. Hariharan, Managing Director of Landbase India, which owns the golf course, said, “It is an opportunity to put not just the venue, but also the sport on centre stage. This is why we run this facility. To give our customers, in this case, the players from the Asian and PGTI tours, the best experience is our aim and we have hopefully prepared the course to do just that.”
 
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Golf: Top pros, promising juniors to take part in Classic Golf and Country Club International Championship

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Indian golf will get a further boost when the $300,000 Classic Golf & Country Club International Championship will make its debut on September 12.
 
While the  new tournament will showcase the growing popularity of the sport in the country, it will also provide another opportunity to the Indian players to showcase their wares in a very strong field including golfers from 20 countries.
 
It  is, perhaps be the first golf tournament in the country to be sponsored  and hosted by a golf club. With the originally scheduled Take Solutions event moved to early next year, the Classic Golf & Country Club (CG&CC) stepped in to fill the vacuum.
 
As a result, one of the oldest golf facilities in the National Capital Region will host two dollar-events – the other one being the $400,000 Panasonic Open – in the same season.
 
The Jack Nicklaus Signature course, where the last Asian Tour event was the 2009 SAIL Open, will witness a full field of 156 players from 24 countries. The winner's share is $54,000. Even the 72nd-placed golfer will receive $600.
 
Since 2011, Asian Tour events in India have produced at least two homegrown winners each year, barring once in 2013, when there was just one winner. But in 2013, Indians also had a runner-up in another event and three Top-5 finishers in the third event.
 
Indian golfers, who have dominated home events, will be strong favourites. Leading the pack will be two stars, Viraj Madappa and Khalin Joshi, both from Bengaluru, who broke through on the region’s premier Tour last season with a win each in Bengaluru and Delhi. The field will also include another  talented Indian, Ajeetesh Sandhu, who won his first Asian Tour event in Taiwan in 2017.
 
S Chikkarangappa, who has been a topper on the domestic pro circuit, will be looking to etch his name on the newly instituted trophy. He has won twice on the Asian Development Tour and has also represented India at the World Cup, but is still in search of his first Asian Tour win.
 
“I have come close many times, but not quite closed the deal. But now with the Classic Golf and Country International, I am hoping the home atmosphere will help me get past the line,” said Chikka.
 
Two-time Asian Tour winner Rashid Khan, who has, however, not won since 2014, will also be in the field as will be Chiragh Kumar, also a winner on the Asian Tour. A new bunch of rookie pros like Aadil Bedi will also be looking at a breakthrough win.
 
The field at Classic Golf & Country Club International Championship  will   have  players from South Africa, Australia, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Taiwan and Argentina taking part, making it a well-represented international event. 
 
The tournament also features recent winners such as Miguel Carballo of Argentina, who is fresh from his win at Indonesia Open; Taehee Lee (Korea) and Malcolm Kokocinski (Sweden).
 
The entry list includes former Asia No. 1 Jyoti Randhawa and multiple Asian Tour winner Mardan Mamat.
 
The field also includes two amateurs, Harshjeet Sethie and Kartik Sharma, who will be representing India at the prestigious Nomura Cup later; as well as Saurav Rathi who will be turning professional in this event.
 
The Classic Golf & Country Club is considered one of the finest courses in India and the South Asian region. The retreat is part of a sprawling 300-acre verdant estate, showcasing South Asia’s only 27-hole signature golf course designed by the legendary Jack Nicklaus.
 
It has an 18-hole Signature Championship Course and a 9-hole Signature Canyon Course built at the foothills of the picturesque Aravallis. The hillocks and knolls lend themselves ideally to create enticing fairways, cunning and tricky greens and in-play water, which are enough to challenge any golfer.
 
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Golf: Steady Tvesa Malik wins her title on Hero WPGT

File photo of Tvesa Malik
File photo of Tvesa Malik
Trailing by a shot with two holes to play, Tvesa Malik held her nerves to pip overnight leader Diksha Dagar for a bogey-bogey finish to win the 13th Leg of the Hero Women’s Pro Golf Tour here today.
 
It was Tvesa’s third win of the season after previous wins in the third leg at Ahmedabad’s Kensville Golf and Country Club and the eighth leg in Bengaluru’s Prestige Golfshire. 
 
She joins Ridhima as the only other three-time winner this year. Tvesa, who has been dividing her time between the Indian domestic tour and international events, has won three titles in five starts on the Hero WPG Tour.
 
Tvesa, who was not having the best of rounds till the 14th, at which point she was three-over, made no mistakes over the last four crucial holes. She birdied the par-3 16th and parred the 15th, 17th and 18th to finish at two-over 74 and one-over 217.
 
Meanwhile, Diksha, who had a disastrous start with a bogey-double bogey-bogey in her first three holes, turned in four-over 40 for the front nine. However, she managed to claw her way back into contention with birdies on 11th and 16th. She still led the field at even par with two holes to play. That is when she made the big errors to bogey the last two holes, allowing playing partner Tvesa to sneak ahead.
 
Ridhima Dilawari put back a lean run with a fine final round as she birdied three times on the front nine to turn in two-under 34. Then she bogeyed 10th, birdied 11th and again bogeyed 14th, only to recover with another birdie on 15th.  She was unable to find any more birdies on the tough three-hole final stretch. She parred the last three holes for the day’s second best card of two-under 70 and a two-over 218 which made her the clubhouse leader.
 
The final group comprised Tvesa Malik, Diksha Dagar and Gaurika Bishnoi, who had earlier put herself out of contention with a four-over 40 on the front nine.
 
As the final group played on the last fairway, Ridhima waited to see the drama unfold. She needed both Diksha and Tvesa to bogey the final hole to get into a play-off.
 
Diksha did drop the bogey to drop to two-over, but Tvesa parred the final hole to keep her nose ahead at one-over and claimed her third title.
 
For Ridhima, the result was a big boost ahead of the Hero Women’s Indian Open at the same layout.
 
Gaurika Bishnoi (75) ended fourth, three shots behind Ridhima and Diksha, who were Tied-second. Neha Tripathi (75) was fifth, while Vani Kapoor (74) was sixth. Siddhi Kapoor (69) had the day’s best card with four birdies and just one bogey on the first.
 
Sisters Gurjot Badwal (76) and Gursimar Badwal (79) tied for eighth and amateur Jahnavi Bakshi (73) and winner of 12th Leg Gauri Karhade (78) were Tied-10th.
 
Gaurika Bishnoi stayed on top of the Hero Order of Merit, while Neha Tripathi is still second and Amandeep Drall is third. Ridhima Dilawari is fourth and Gursimar Badwal fifth.
 
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ED attaches properties worth Rs. 30.34 crore in Panchkula industrial plots allocation case

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The Enforcement Directorate (ED) said on Thursday it had attached 14 industrial plots worth Rs. 30.34 crore under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA) in the Panchkula industrial plots allocation case.
 
In a press release, the Ed alleged that the 14 plots were fraudulently allocated to persons closely connected to then Haryana Chief Minister Bhupendra Singh Hooda, who was the ex-officio Chairman of the  Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA). 
 
"Since these fraudulently acquired plots are proceeds of crime, the same have been provisionally attached under PMLA.
 
"Investigations conducted by ED reveal that 14 industrial plots were available with HUDA for allotment in 2011. It has come out during the investigation that the prices fixed for the subject allotment were kept very low vis-a-vis market rate. The then prevalent collector rate was around 4-5 times the price fixed for allotment. Hon’ble High Court directions to the Haryana Government were to evolve a fair and transparent criteria for such allocations. 
 
"The criteria for allotment were altered 18 days after the last date of application was over and all the applicant data was in possession of HUDA. Marks for certain criteria were altered to favour the pre-selected applicants by increasing the discretion at the hands of the interview committee. The marks for certain criteria were reduced and for others the criteria points were given zero marks thereby effectively removing the criteria as given in EMP. The entire interview process was vitiated and compromised as no formal record of marks allocation was kept. It has been found that the plots were allocated to persons closely connected to Shri Bhupender Singh Hooda in terms of his personal capacity and also in terms of the political party he belongs to," it said.
 
Further  investigation in this case is under progress, the release added.
 
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Golf: Diksha Dagar emerges second-round leader in 13th Leg of Hero WPGT

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Diksha Dagar fired four birdies while dropping a stroke in the back nine to take the lead as overnight leader Tvesa Malik had a poor  second round in the 13th Leg of the Hero Women’s Pro Golf Tour at the Gary Player layout in the DLF Golf & Country Club here on Thursday.
 
Even as Diksha holds a two-shot lead over Tvesa, the latter is another three shots ahead of Gursimar Badwal (73) and Gaurika Bishnoi (74), who are Tied-third.
 
Diksha, who flew in straight from Europe for the event, bettered her first-round 73 with a fine four-under 68 that took her total to three-under 141. Tvesa, on the other hand, fell to one-under 143 as she carded three-over 75, which had just one birdie and four bogeys. As of now only Diksha and Tvesa have carded under par totals. 
 
That put Diksha in a strong position going into the final round. Her  only win on the Hero WPG Tour has come as an amateur in the last event of the 2017 season. 
 
The current season of 2019 is her rookie season as a pro, and Diksha has already won the South African Women’s Open on the Ladies European Tour.
 
Gursimar had three birdies on the front nine against one bogey, while she had three bogeys on the back nine for a total of 73, the same as the first day.
 
Gaurika had two birdies against four bogeys, three of which were on the front nine.
 
Ridhima has been having a quiet run after her win in the ninth leg, which was her third win of the season. Since then she has had a best finish of Tied-seventh, and so will be looking at a good finish here.
 
Vani Kapoor (76) and Gurjot Badwal (77) are Tied-seventh, while Siddhi Kapoor (79) and Gauri Karhade (82) are Tied-ninth.Sneha Sharan is the leading amateur and Tied-11th alongside Amandeep Drall.
 
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Golf: Rookie Karan Pratap Singh claims maiden title in dramatic finish

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In a dramatic finish, 19-year-old rookie Karan Pratap Singh sank an eagle on the last hole of the final round to claim his maiden professional title at the Tata Steel PGTI Feeder Tour at the Golden Greens Golf Club here on Thursday.
 
Local lad Shivendra Singh Sisodia (71-67-71) finished second at his home course with a total of seven-under 209.
 
Gurugram-based Karan (71-68-68), who plays at the DLF Golf & Country Club, delivered a second consecutive four-under 68 during round three on Thursday to claim a well-deserved two-shot victory at nine-under 207 at the Rs. 8 lakh event.
 
 Interestingly, rookies have now won the last two tournaments on the Tata Steel PGTI Feeder Tour. Last week, another rookie Yuvraj Singh Sandhu had triumphed in Karnal.
 
 Karan, who was placed second, one shot behind leader Shivendra Singh Sisodia on day two, put up a fine display of driving and iron-play on day three to register a memorable come-from-behind win.
 
Among India's leading juniors till the age of 15, Karan caught up with leader Sisodia when he sank successive birdies on the fifth and sixth. Singh added two more birdies on the ninth and 10th as a result of back-to-back 20-feet conversions to move into a two-shot lead.
 
However, it was all square once again between Karan and Shivendra as the former’s short-game seemed to go off the boil when he bogeyed the 11th and 12th. But there was a last twist when the tall and lanky Karan, who finished tied 16th at the PGTI Q School earlier this year, produced his best shot of the tournament on the 18th, a magnificent approach from 240 yards, to set up the decisive four-foot eagle putt which he went on to convert.
 
Karan, who had also posted a round of eight-under 62 and a tied seventh finish at the Bengal Open earlier this year, climbed from 25th to fifth place in the Tata Steel PGTI Feeder Tour Order of Merit as a result of his triumph on Thursday. He won a prize purse of Rs. 1,01,720.
 
“I played solid today having made 15 regulations and 10 fairways. I couldn’t have asked for a better time to pull out my best shot of the tournament, the approach on the 18th. Even the tee shot on the 18th was a tough one but I struck it well," he said.
 
"I kept my cool through the day and really held my nerve in the finishing stages. Importantly, I put the disappointment of the two bogeys behind me pretty quickly and instead focused on the next hole," he added.
 
Sisodia, the overnight leader dropped to second place in round three after a 71 that was punctuated by two birdies and a bogey. He had a forgettable back-nine where he made a bogey on the 10th followed by eight pars and struggled to close the gap with Karan in the dying stages.
 
Greater Noida’s Arjun Sharma (70) came third at six-under-210. Chandigarh’s Yuvraj Singh Sandhu, the winner last week in Karnal, and Delhi’s Ashok Kumar finished joint fourth at four-under-212.
 
Yuvraj Sandhu’s tied fourth finish raised  his season's earnings to  Rs. 1,80,760. Digvijay Singh, the other top-60 player and local golfer in the field besides Sisodia, also took a share of 13th place.
 
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Golf: Shivendra Sisodia moves into second-round lead at Golden Greens

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Local golfer Shivendra Singh Sisodia carded five-under 67 to take the  second-round lead at six-under 138 at the Tata Steel PGTI Feeder Tour at the Golden Greens Golf Club here on Wednesday.
 
Teenaged rookie Karan Pratap Singh, who also hails from Gurugram, produced a 68 to be placed second at five-under 139. The cut came down at four-over 148. Thirty-six professionals made the cut.
 
 The 30-year-old  Sisodia (71-67), a former winner on the Feeder Tour, playing on his home course, hit his approach shots with pinpoint precision through the day. He secured an early eagle on the 11th where he landed his approach within three feet of the pin. Sisodia then set up a five-foot birdie conversion on the par-3 12th followed by a 10-footer on the par-4 14th.
 
He continued the good work on the front-nine with a birdie chip-in from 22 yards on the first despite an erratic drive. He was also just one roll short of his second eagle of the day on the fifth where he settled for a birdie. Sisodia’s only setback came on the closing ninth where he dropped a bogey after losing his ball as a result of a poor tee shot.
 
“I did really well with my approach shots and wedges today. It’s my home course, so I knew that even after a slow start in the first round I’ll be able to make up lost ground on day two. I’ve not performed up to my expectations so far this year as I’ve not been finishing well in tournaments. I’ve been posting high scores on the last two days. That’s something that I’ve been working on. So hopefully, I can turn it around in the last round tomorrow,” Sisodia said after his round
 
Nineteen-year-old Karan Pratap Singh (71-68) made some good up and downs thanks to his excellent wedge-play to propel himself into contention, one shot behind the leader.
 
Kapurthala’s Ashbeer Saini (69) and Greater Noida’s Arjun Sharma (68) occupied joint third place at four-under-140. Feeder Tour Order of Merit leader Anil Bajrang Mane (69) of Mumbai was in tied fifth at three-under 141 along with Chandigarh’s Rohan Kathuria (68).
 
Round-one leader Kushal Singh of Gurugram slipped to tied seventh at two-under  142 after his second round of 74. Digvijay Singh (74), also playing at his home course, ended the day in tied 18th at one-over 145. 
 
Gurugram’s Md Ezzaz fired a hole-in-one on the eighth during his round of 73. However, he totaled seven-over 151 to miss the cut by three shots.
 
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Golf: Tvesa fires four-under 68 to lead on the opening day of 13th Leg of Hero WPGT

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Title contender Tvesa Malik fired four-under 68 to take a four-shot lead over Gaurika Bishnoi and Gurjot Badwalas she emerged the opening round leader in the 13th leg of the Hero Women’s Pro Golf Tour here on Wednesday.
 
Playing at Gary Player’s Black Knight course at the DLF Golf and Country Club, Tvesa started the day with 10 pars in a row, before coming up with three successive birdies. She dropped a shot on Par-5 15th, but quickly regrouped herself to close birdie-birdie for a 68.
 
Gaurika started with four steady pars, before she dropped a double bogey on Par-3 fifth and another bogey on sixth. Birdies on ninth and 10th, followed by six pars and another birdie on 17th, and  she ended at 72.
 
Gurjot Badwal, younger sister of Gursimar Badwal, had three birdies, one on front nine and two on back nine, but dropped three bogeys on back nine to end up with par 72.
 
It was a perfect start for Tvesa’s preparations for next month’s marquee event, the Hero Women’s Indian Open on the Ladies European Tour at the same course. Last year Tvesa finished Tied-13th alongside Gaurika Bishnoi, who is lying second, but overall is leading the Hero WPGT Order of Merit.
 
Diksha Dagar and Vani Kapoor, along with last week’s winner Gauri Karhade, were among the big group of five golfers at Tied-fourth with a round of 73 each. The others in the group were Neha Tripathi and Gursimar Badwal.
 
Diksha had two birdies against one bogey, while Vani had three birdies against four bogeys. Three of her bogeys came in the last six holes.
 
Neha Tripathi started birdie-birdie and then had a roller-coaster of a round with a total of five birdies against two double bogeys and two bogeys.
 
Amateur Khushi Hooda, Siddhi Kapoor and the only three-time winner this season Ridhima Dilawari, are Tied-ninth at 76 each.
 
This is the last event before the Hero Women’s Indian Open scheduled for the first week of October.
 
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Golf: Kushal Singh takes first round lead at Golden Greens

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Gurugram’s Kushal Singh fired four-under 68 to emerge the first-round leader at the Tata Steel PGTI Feeder Tour 2019 presented by Golden Greens Golf Club in Gurugram on Tuesday.
 
The quartet comprising Chandigarh duo Zubin Nijhawan and Amrit Lal and Delhi-based players Gulfam Pappan and Sahil Kulkarni were in joint second with scores of two-under 70.
 
Twenty-four-year-old Kushal Singh, who already has two top-10s in the current Feeder Tour season and occupies fourth place on the money list, had a quiet start as he made two birdies and two bogeys over his first six holes (10th to 15th). Kushal then hit his straps with a good par save on the 17th where he recovered despite a poor tee shot followed by a birdie on the 18th.
 
On the front-nine, Singh,  having found his rhythm, picked up three more birdies on the third, fifth and ninth to move into the sole lead on day one of the Feeder Tour season’s fourth event. Kushal capitalized on all the four par-5 holes with birdies on each one of them.
 
 Kushal, fresh from his runner-up finish at last week’s event in Karnal, said, “I posted my career-best finish in Karnal last week so I’m carrying forward the momentum from that performance. I made a lot of good up and downs today and made the par-5s count. I didn’t have a great start today but the birdie on the 18th changed things as it gave me the confidence for the front-nine.”
 
Digvijay Singh and Shivendra Singh Sisodia, both playing at their home course, ended round one with scores of 71 to be tied sixth. 
 
Feeder Tour Order of Merit leader Anil Bajrang Mane of Mumbai fired a 72 to be placed tied 11th.
 

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Golf: Diksha, Vani to take part in domestic Tour for 13th leg ahead of Hero Women’s Indian Open

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Diksha Dagar, the lone Indian to have won on the Ladies European Tour (LET) this year, and Vani Kapoor will get their second appearance chance on the domestic Hero Women’s Pro Golf Tour in 2019. All the top Indian stars hope to get a feel of the DLF Golf and Country Club’s layout this week.
 
Diksha, who won the Women’s South African Open and then played as many events as possible on the LET, including two Majors, for which she qualified as a winner, has not played this season on the Hero WPGT. She played the opening leg of the Tour and finished third before proceeding to play outside India.
 
Also returning for the event is Vani Kapoor, who despite finishing second, picked the winner’s cheque in the 11th Leg at the Hyderabad Golf Club, as amateur Sneha Singh emerged winner.
 
Other hopefuls this week will include three-time winner on the Hero WPG Tour Ridhima Dilawari, who was T-20 last year at HWIO 2018 and two-time domestic winners Gaurika Bishnoi and Tvesa Malik, who were also the only Indians in Top-15 at HWIO last year.
 
Other Tour winners who will be seen in action are Amandeep Drall, Neha Tripathi, Gursimar Badwal and Gauri Karhade, the latest teen to win a title on the home Tour.
 
The field for this week’s 13th leg also includes four amateurs -- Asmitha Sathish, Khushi Hooda, Sneha Sharan and Jahanvi Bakshi.
 
This will be their final chance to get a look at the Gary Player’s Black Knight course before the Hero Women’s Indian Open in the first week of October.
 
The $ 500,000 will mark its 10th anniversary on the LET and the 13th edition overall when it is held from October 3 to 6.
 
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Heavy rains lash Delhi-NCR, traffic snarls at many places

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Heavy rains lashed Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR) on Tuesday, leading to massive traffic snarls at various places.
 
While some parts of the capital city received heavy rainfall, others only witnessed a drizzle. In a few areas trees were uprooted which led to traffic.
 
In South Delhi, there was bumper-to-bumper traffic from Maharani Bagh towards Ashram after a tree was uprooted. 
 
Traffic was affected from Dhaula Kuan to AIIMS due to breakdown of a vehicle. There was also a jam in Model Town due to waterlogging. Near the Indraprastha flyover, vehicles' movement was affected because of an overflowing sewer. 
 
Waterlogging made it difficult for people to step out of their homes in Dwarka and Gurugram.
 
Forecaster Skymet Weather's Vice President Mahesh Palawat told IANS on Tuesday that the monsoon turf has moved to North India and the weather will continue to remain the same till Wednesday,following which it will move to South India.
 
"The rains will be back in the national capital from August 12 onwards," he added.
 
Meanwhile, commuters and office goers were swift enough to take to social media and report about traffic jams. 
 
"Rain in Delhi and the consequences of a terrible traffic jam on Delhi-Meerut highway (NH-24)," a Twitter user said, along with an image of a jam for around 100 metres.
 
The Delhi Traffic Police (DTP) were also constantly posting updates on their Twitter handle. 
 
IANS

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10-month-old infant dies after falling into open manhole

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An open manhole in Gurugram's sector 31 area claimed the life of a 10-month-old infant, police said on Tuesday.
 
The infant was playing with his 15-year-old brother on the pavement of a road.
 
The deceased's grandfather Tek Chand said that he runs a stall on the road where the infant was crawling near the uncovered manhole and fell inside.
 
Local residents especially street vendors are agitated over the negligence of the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram which did not cover the manhole on the deep sewer line.
 
MCG officials are tightlipped following the incident.
 
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Four of a family found dead in Gurugram

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Four members of a family were found dead inside a house here, police said on Monday.
 
According to the police, they were informed of the incident in Sector 49 here by the neighbours.
 
"A team reached the spot and broke open the house and found the four dead bodies. As per initial investigation, Prakash Singh, working at a chemical factory, is suspected to have ended his life after killing the family," said a senior police officer.
 
Police have sent the bodies for post mortem examination. Singh was working in a chemical factory in Hyderabad and his wife used to run a private school, as per initial probe.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 

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Indian cuisine 'czar' Jiggs Kalra no more

Jiggs Kalra (Photo: Facebook)
Jiggs Kalra (Photo: Facebook)
Celebrated chef Jiggs Kalra, who earned epithets like 'Czar of Indian Cuisine' and 'Taste Maker to the Nation', passed away on Tuesday here. He was 72.
 
He was unwell for the past few weeks, and passed away at a hospital here, said a source close to his family. 
 
Last month, his son Zorawar had shared an update about his health on Instagram. 
 
"Today is my father Jiggs Kalra's 72nd birthday. This is the first time, unfortunately, it has been celebrated in hospital, as he isn't well. Last year we celebrated it together as a family. Nothing matters more than time spent with your parents as each and every single Birthday matters. He is a toughie. Has been battling his stroke for 19 years and will be back soon," Zorawar had posted on May 21.
 
The cremation will be held on Thursday at the Lodhi crematorium. 
 
Born on May 21, 1948, Kalra, whose name was Jaspal Inder Singh Kalra, was a pioneering food columnist, author and food consultant. In a career spanning close to five decades, he was instrumental in introducing Indian cuisine to the international audience as well as setting standards of the same.
 
He is also credited with establishing some of the most critically acclaimed and best-performing restaurants in the country. He represented India at various international food festivals and summits, apart from having served the likes of British royals Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana, apart from former US President Bill Clinton.
 
The senior Kalra authored over 11 titles on Indian cuisine, including "Prashad". 
 
Filmmaker Hansal Mehta wrote a condolence message for Jiggs Kalra on Twitter, saying: "Thank you for introducing me to Indian food and its treasure of recipes. All your books adorn my bookshelf and the masala and oil on each page is testimony to how your recipes have shaped my passion for cooking."
 
Over the past some years, he was instrumental in launching revolutionary restaurant concepts like Masala Library by Jiggs Kalra, Made in Punjab, Farzi Cafe and Pa Pa Ya.
 
IANS

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4-feet hole appears on NH 8 flyover in Gurugram

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In the latest evidence of deterioration of highways, a four-feet hole was spotted on Wednesday on the Hero Honda Chowk flyover on the Delhi-Jaipur stretch of the National Highway 8 which poses a big risk to the lives of commuters.
 
The flyover was thrown open to the public in 2016 to ease traffic on the highly congested stretch. 
 
The deterioration, appearing in the middle of the flyover on its Jaipur to Delhi bound flank, has put a serious question mark over quality of construction. 
 
This is the third time that the flyover has been closed due to the appearance of holes and comes in the backdrop of the Road Transport and Highways Ministry's claims of achieving 24 km of quality highway construction per day. 
 
Inspection of the affected site clearly showed the use of lower quality concrete material, thin iron bars as well as thin layers of charcoal.
 
"We have received information about a hole appearing on Hero Honda Chowk flyover around 5 a.m. Subsequently, road safety staff rushed at the spot and blocked the road. Repairing of the affected area will start soon," said National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) Superintending Engineer Ashok Sharma said.
 
NHAI officials have barricaded the affected area and made a diversion for commuters. This led to a major traffic snarl during the morning and evening rush hours with motorists struck in bumper-to-bumper traffic.
 
"We have diverted traffic movement and are also allowing use of service lanes to give respite to commuters," he said.
 
Manesar resident Subhash Kashyap, who was among the first to spot the hole, said: "Commuters like me are regular users of this highway and such a big hole invites accidents. The concrete chunk has completely disappeared from the road and only iron bars are visible. I was lucky to maneouvre my car at the right time otherwise I would have met with a fatal accident."
 
"The thickness of flyover is even thinner than the roof of a normal building. The construction company and supervising official of NHAI should take responsibility for lower quality of construction and they should be punished for putting lives of common commuters at risk," he added.
 
The flyover was built at a cost of Rs 190 crore, and every leader of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) takes credit for it. 
 
On April 25 last year, a big chunk of the flyover surface disappeared on the Jaipur-Delhi stretch. A day later, cracks appears in the middle of the MG Road-Sukhrali loop of the flyover situated on Iffco Chowk. 
 
On December 13, 2018, a five-feet hole appeared on the Rampura flyover on the same stretch.
 
IANS
 

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U.S. Kids Golf India to commence at Golf and Country Club in Gurugram

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Buoyed by last year's success, the U.S. Kids Golf India Tour 2019 rolls out with its opening event to be played at the Jack Nicklaus-designed Classic Golf and Country Club near here on Wednesday.
 
The U.S. Kids Golf India Tour  will be played across various age groups for boys, starting from age 6 and under till 18, as well as girls, from age 7 and till 18.
 
On Wednesday, 73 young golfers participating in 14 age categories will tee off the season, hoping to emulate the successes of the 2018-19 Tour that saw as many as 32 players in various age-groups qualifying for further competitions under the global banner of the U.S. Kids Golf from 13 age groups – eight among boys and five among girls.
 
Building on the previous season, U.S. Kids India will operate two tours concurrently, one for the North Zone that will include Kolkata and Ahmedabad besides Delhi NCR, and a second for the South Zone that will be played across Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Pune.
 
“This year, we divided the country into two zones keeping West Bengal and Gujarat in the North and the rest in the South,” Tournament Director Romit Bose said. “After last year’s strong response, the idea was to broaden the footprint of the U.S. Kids India Tour significantly keeping in mind the two major centres of the game in India, Delhi and Bengaluru.
 
“This will also reduce travel for the kids by bringing our tournaments closer,” he added.
 
Tournaments in the North will be played at Classic GCC, Jaypee Greens in Greater Noida, Golden Greens Colf Club (Gurugram), Kalhaar Blues and Greens in Ahmedabad and the Tollygunje Club in Kolkata. The season-ending Tour Championship will also be at the Classic GCC.
 
The South leg will be held at Golden Greens in Hosur near Bengaluru, Hyderabad’s Boulder Hills Golf and Country Club, Eagleton the Golf Resort (Bengaluru) and the Poona Club Golf Course in Pune with the Tour Championship at the Engleton course.
 
U.S. Kids Golf India  President Rajesh Srivatsava said, “After a successful first season, and with golf now being a part of the Olympics and the Asian Games, we are focussed on the right way of developing junior golf in India. 
 
With this initiative, we have put forward a scientific approach to the development of junior golf in the right environment with age-specific equipment and yardages to ensure that our kids grow their game while enjoying the sport and also remain free from injury and fatigue.
 
“One of the major focus areas has been the certification of junior golf coaches and caddies, who are the first point of contact between a junior golfer and the game, as per U.S. Kids Golf global norms and standards'.
 
 The Tour will carry ranking points, and with participation in a minimum of four events out of the eight, junior golfers will be able to gain qualification for the U.S. Kids World Championship, U.S. Kids European Championships as well as U.S. Kids Teen World Championship.
 
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Two killed, 3 hurt in CNG car fire in Gurugram

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Two persons were killed and three others injured in an explosion in a CNG kit-fitted car, parked in a fireworks godown in the Kadipur industrial area near Sector 10, police said on Monday.
 
The cause of the explosion is yet to be ascertained. The fire spread rapidly and soon engulfed the warehouse, said Subhash Bokan, PRO, the Gurugram Police. 
 
While a security guard, identified as Bawa, died on the spot, another person succumbed to injuries at the civil hospital. Three others were referred to Safdarjung Hospital. Their condition was stated to be critical. 
 
IANS
 
 

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Gallacher wins Hero Indian Open; Rashid, Chikka finish tied 10th

Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher with Hero MotoCorp Ltd Chairman and Managing Director Pawan Munjal after winning the $ 1.75 million Hero Indian Open Golf at the DLF Golf and Country Club in Gurugram on March 31, 2019.
Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher with Hero MotoCorp Ltd Chairman and Managing Director Pawan Munjal after winning the $ 1.75 million Hero Indian Open Golf at the DLF Golf and Country Club in Gurugram on March 31, 2019.
First round joint leader Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher survived a quadruple-bogey disaster and staged a stunning comeback, carding three birdies in the last four holes for one under 71 fourth round, to pip Japan’s Masahiro Kawamura by a shot to claim the $ 1.75 million Hero Indian Open Golf at the DLF Golf and Country Club here on Sunday. 
 
Gallacher’s aggregate of nine-under-par 279 give him a one-shot lead over Kawamura. The 44-year-old Scot held his nerves round as he recovered from a horrible quadruple-bogey on hole seven to take home the winner’s prize purse of $291,660.
 
Kawamura had a chance to force a play-off with Gallacher at the last but could not take it into extra time as he could only make par. The Japanese settled for second place on his own following a 73.
 
"I was chasing the lead and was three behind to start the day. I got off to a slow start and then made a quadruple bogey but I was very calm, saw that I was only 5 behind. I told myself, just stick in there. You never know on this golf course, it can turn around very quickly, given how tough it's playing and then I went three under in the last three holes,” the Scot said after the win.
 
About the quad bogey, he said, “I actually forgot all about it. It was a tough pin and I was trying to get my drive as long as possible as it was down wind and it ended up left against the fence on the left. Changed club to a three wood and the next shot I lost the ball as well so I went back to start again. Got on the green and two-putted that."
 
Local favourites Rashid Khan (70) and S. Chikkarangappa (74) finished as the highest-placed Indians in tied-10th position.
 
Finland’s Kalle Samooja aced the 12th hole from 127 metres with his pitching wedge, marking the first time in the history of the Indian Open that three hole-in-ones were made in the same year.
 
Chikkarangappa (74-70-66-74), who had raised hopes of the home fans by finishing tied 6th after the third round, failed to produce the same form and returned a poor 2 over 74 last round to slip to four places down the rung.
 
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Chikka had double bogeys on the 5th and 10th and he also dropped a stroke on the 14th. He hit three birdies and with an aggregate of 4 under 214 shared the tied place with 7 others including compatriot Rashid Khan and overnight joint leader Sihwan Kim.
 
Young Rashid Khan (72,70,72,70), who was tied 21st after a 72 on Saturday, came up with much improved showing, firing two under last round which propelled him to tied 10th with a total of 4 under 284.
 
Playing steady golf Rashid hit birdies on the 2nd and 9th but dropped strokes on 5th and 8th to go out at par 36. Coming back he started with a bogey but recovered his ground by hitting two successive birdies on the 11th and 12th to complete his round at 70.
 
Two-time European Tour winner Shubhankar Sharma, who was overnight tied 15th, had a poor last round day as he carded three over par 75 to tumbled 12 places to end tied 27 at par 288. 
 
Shubhankar Sharma (69-73-71-75), unlike yesterday when he had recovered well after an early double-bogey, could not do an encore on the last. He had two double bogeys on the 8th and 14 and he also missed shots on the 11th and 12th. His three birdies on 2nd, 15 and 18th reduced the gap to some extent in this round.
 
Gaganjeet Bhullar had a one under 71 round and that took him up 24 places to end at tied 39 with three over 291
 
Former champion SSP Chawrasia tied 47 overnight returned three over 75 round and with a tournament total of four over 292 ended two places above at tied 45.
 
Ajeetesh Sandhu (74,71,73,75) with three over par last round stayed put at tied 54 with five over 293 total. Gaurav Pratap Singh and Rahil Gangjee were tied 69 at 13 over 301.
 
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Golf: Last hole blues for leader Suri, Chikkarangappa keeps Indian hopes alive

S. Chikkarangappa
S. Chikkarangappa
Chikkarangappa S. fired six-under-66 to keep Indians' hopes alive as seven other home challengers struggled to keep afloat while it turned out to be last hole blues for leader Julian Suri on the third and penultimate day of the US$ 1.75 million Hero Indian Open at the demanding DLF Golf & Country Club here on Saturday.
 
Only three of eight Indians in fray -- Chikkarangappa (six-under), Shubhankar Sharma (one-under) and SSP Chawrasia (one-under) -- shot under-par scores.
 
Overnight leader Julian Suri looked set to consolidate his lead at the top as he was 13-under with three bogeys against six birdies but on the last hole he fumbled and carded a double bogey to finish the round one under 71 and was forced to share of the lead with England’s Callum Shinkwin who returned 4 under 68. Both totalled 11under 205 at the end of the third day.
 
“I think a couple of the mistakes I made today were after long waits on the tee box and that was quite a long wait on 18. No excuses, totally my fault and I need to compose myself better and I think that is a bit of a learning curve for me after being out of tournament golf for a while now.” Suri said.
 
“You have to be on your game at all times. Any slip up or anything can be pretty penal. I am feeling good with my overall game despite 18 there, the game feels good. I know Callum played well today. I knew that the putt on 18 was to keep a share of the lead which was big for me to make that and I will hopefully take some of that momentum into tomorrow, he added.
 
 
The 25-year-old Chikka, an Asian Tour regular and two-time winner on the Asian Development Tour (ADT), seems to be the only Indian with some hope going into the final round as he is now placed tied sixth at six-under-210, five behind the joint leaders Julian Suri and Callum Shinkwin
 
Chikka’s third round exploits lifted him 35 places from his overnight tied 41st.
 
Two-time European Tour winner Shubhankar Sharma produced a hard-fought one-under-71 to move up four places to tied 15th at three-under-213.
 
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Chikkarangappa (74-70-66) has been experiencing a career revival since November last year. Over the last five months, he has won two events on the PGTI and also finished runner-up at an Asian Tour event that helped him seal his card in Asia for 2019.
 
Chikka carried his form into the Indian Open as was evident from his third round performance. Today he had a dream start as he struck the ball to perfection from the very outset and as a result conjured birdies on the first, second and fourth.
 
His putting was the highlight as he picked up four more birdies on the ninth, 10th, 11th and 13th. This stretch saw him make a couple of 12-feet birdie conversions. He finally dropped his only bogey of the day on the 17th.
 
“I started really well and that set the tone for the rest of the day. My ball-striking was right up there as I hit almost all greens in regulation and found all fairways. The putting was also sharp,“ Chikka said after his round.
 
“I will take seven birdies and a bogey on this golf course any day. This is my best round at this course and almost feels like a course record.  
 
“I’ve been in good touch since late last year and that helped my confidence coming into this tournament. I just feel good about all aspects of my game at the moment.
 
“As for the last round, I just need to enjoy myself on the course and play with no expectations. Hopefully, the rest should fall in place," he said.
 
Shubhankar Sharma (69-73-71) recovered well after an early double-bogey on the second to shoot a brave 71. Sharma came up with five birdies and two bogeys between the fifth and 18th to close the day with a respectable score.
 
Rashid Khan dropped two places to tied 21st after a 72 on Saturday. His score read two-under-214.
 
 Former champion SSP Chawrasia was tied 47th at one-over-217 while Ajeetesh Sandhu was a further shot back in tied 54th.
 
Gaurav Pratap Singh occupied tied 59th place at three-over-219, Gaganjeet Bhullar was tied 63rd at four-over-220 and Rahil Gangjee was tied 66th at five-over-221.
 
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Rashid, Shubhankar keep Indian hopes alive as Julian Suri leads in Hero Indian Open Golf

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Young Delhi Golfer Rashid Khan and Chandigarh-based Shubhankar Sharma carded contrasting second rounds to keep Indian hopes alive as they trailed the leader Julian Suri of the United States by eight shots at the halfway stage of the the $1.75 million Hero Indian Open at the DLF Golf and Country Club here on Friday.
 
Two-time Asian Tour winner Rashid shot two-under-70 while two-time European Tour winner Shubhankar returned one over 73 and were the best-placed Indians as both were tied 19th with a tally of two-under-142. 
 
The cut was declared at two-over-146. Seventy professionals made the cut. Out of a total of 37 Indians in the fray, only eight made the cut.
 
Suri stretched his overnight lead to three after carding a second consecutive five-under-par 67. The 27-year-old American, who shared a one-shot lead at the end of the first round, fired an eagle and five birdies against two bogeys for a 10-under-par 134.
 
Suri, who last won on the European Tour two years ago, credited his hot putter for yet another commendable round in the event, co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour.
 
"I hit it really well the whole day and I just tried to free it up a little bit on the second nine with my putting. I putted with more feel instead, which is how I have usually been putting, and I gave myself a lot more chances,” said the American, who is of Indian descent.
 
Thailand’s Prom Meesawat, American Berry Henson and India’s Rashid Khan settled eight shots off the pace following rounds of 74, 72 and 70 respectively.
 
Henson, a one-time Asian Tour winner, was glad his conservative approach paid off as he made it into the weekend rounds after trading three birdies against three bogeys.
 
“I’ve only hit one driver over the past two rounds. I hope to take a bit more of a risk over the weekend and try and get in better positions to score. Today I just hit my three-wood off the tee just to keep my ball in play. That was my game plan, to keep my ball in play and stay away from the big numbers,” said Henson.
 
 After his round Rashid said, “I had a good start and finish today. I placed the ball well and rolled in the putts. Shooting an under-par round on this course is always an encouraging sign so I’m quite satisfied with today’s effort.
 
 “This course requires a lot of patience as you have to play away from some of the flags. I managed to do that well today.
 
“I had a good preparation for this event as I was invited to practice for a few days at the Kalhaar Blues & Greens Course in Ahmedabad last week. Playing at Kalhaar gave me a feel of the DLF Golf & Country Club as both courses are similar in many ways," he said.
 
On the other hand, Shubhankar said he was not too happy with the day. “ A one-over is not what I had expected today. I didn’t feel like I played bad but missing crucial putts on the front-nine made a lot of difference. I was just struggling to make pars on the front-nine.”
 
“I was in a position to birdie the fourth and eighth but ended up dropping bogeys there which in effect meant that I lost four shots on those two holes. Those two bogeys were definitely big setbacks.
 
“If I had birdied the fifth and moved to one-under once again, things could’ve been very different. Landing it in the water on the eighth was also a big disappointment. The importance of scoring on the front-nine can be stressed by the fact that one doesn’t get too many birdie opportunities on the back-nine here.
 
“I made pars on the last two holes but was not satisfied with a couple of shots there as well. I could’ve been in better positions on both holes," he said.
 
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Shubankar tied 7th, two shots behind leaders at Hero Indian Open Golf

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Shubhankar Sharma and Rahil Gangjee led the home side’s challenge as Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher and American Julian Suri at five-under-67 jointly led the field on the opening day of the Hero Indian Open at the DLF Golf & Country Club here on Thursday.
 
Shubhankar carded three-under-69 to be at tied seventh place, two off the lead. Gangjee fired a steady two-under-70 and was tied 16th at the US$ 1.75 million event.
 
Shubhankar, a 10th tee starter, made an early gain with a long birdie conversion on the 12th. The 22-year-old, who was in good putting form through the day, then made two consecutive birdies on the 18th and first, the latter being another long conversion from 15 feet, to take his score to three-under.
 
Two-time European Tour winner Sharma’s excellent approach shot on the par-5 fourth landed six feet from the pin thus setting up an eagle for him.
 
The Chandigarh-based golfer was in the joint lead at five-under through 14 holes before he hit a rough patch on the sixth and seventh. He found the bunker on the sixth and seventh and thus dropped successive bogeys there to close the day with a three-under.
 
“I think I played very well today and didn’t make too many mistakes. I missed a couple of key putts on the front nine. Made a silly mistake on six and seven but apart from those holes I am pretty happy with how I finished,” said Sharma.
 
Rahil Gangjee mixed three birdies with a bogey during his round of 70. The other Indians who got off to a decent start were Om Prakash Chouhan (71) tied 28th place, Gaganjeet Bhullar (72) and Rashid Khan (72) who were both in tied 46th place.
 
Among other prominent home side names, Shiv Kapur (74) and two-time Indian Open champion SSP Chawrasia (74) were both tied 76th while another former winner Anirban Lahiri (77) was tied 107th.
 
Stephen and Julian Suri, were followed by four others who carded four-under 68. That group included Robert Karlsson, Spaniard Pablo Larrazabal, South African Christiaan Bezuidenhout, and Thailand’s Prom Meesawat.
 
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Placed Tied-7th with Sharma were Scott Hend, Thailand’s Prayad Marksaeng,Poom Saksansin, and Japan’s Masahiro Kawamura.
 
Gallacher, a three-time European Tour winner, fired a stunning 67 to take the morning clubhouse lead on his own while three players stayed one shot behind including Christiaan Bezuidenhout of South Africa, Spain’s Pablo Larrazabal and Robert Karlsson of Sweden.
 
Aiming for a first win on Indian soil, Hend recovered brilliantly from a bad front nine by closing with three consecutive birdies in his final three holes.
 
"After my 17th and 18th hole, we thought we would be flying tomorrow night. I three-putted the 17th and hit two balls into the water hazard on hole 18 which was a bit of a nightmare. To come back after that was great, and I think so far this year this was the best round that I have played,” said Hend, coming off his 10th Asian Tour victory last week in Malaysia.
 
Gallacher and Suri had contrasting fortunes at the same Gary Player course at the DLF Golf and Country Club last year. The Scotsman was Tied-seventh, while Suri headed home early with rounds of 76-82. Gallacher’s card included six birdies, one bogey, a double and a closing eagle, while Suri had seven birdies and a bogey on either side of the course.
 
A year ago, Gallacher tied for seventh at the Hero Indian Open and that effort included five-under 67, which he equaled on Thursday. Gallacher said, “It was a perfect morning. Cool to start with and then it heated up later on in the round, and not too much wind, so it was perfect today.
 
“I think you have to get it in play off the tee, there is just so much trouble. I think if you get the tee shot in place you can hit a couple of nice iron shots and take advantage of the par fours that are quite short, drive a couple, and knock it onto the par fives. It is quite a strategic course. I don’t think you need to be the longest player on the Tour to play it, I think you’ve just got to plot your way around it.”
 
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Anirban, Chawrasia to lead home challenge at the Hero Indian Open

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Former champions Anirban Lahiri, S. S. P. Chawrasia and 2018 Asian Tour Order of Merit winner Shubhankar Sharma will lead the home challenge in the $1.75 million Hero Indian Open commencing on Thursday here at the DLF Golf and Country Club.
 
Anirban and Chawrasia between them have won the Hero Indian Open three times in the period between 2015 and 2017
 
Apart from Lahiri, Chawrasia and Gaganjeet Bhullar, youngsters like Khalin Joshi and Viraj Madappa, who broke through last year, and others will be part of the Indian campaign.
 
The field has the 2018 Scottish Open winner Brandon Stone, long-hitting Bernd Wiesberger, four-time European Tour winner, and Gavin Green, a former Asian Tour No. 1, who are strong contenders
 
Jazz Janewattananond (No. 71),  Adrian Otaegui (No. 73), Shaun Norris (No. 90) and Jorge Campillo (No. 93) David Law (Vic Open), Aaron Rai (Hong Kong Open) and Scott Hend (Maybank Malaysian Championships) are among the other foreigners in the fray.
 
Lahiri is here on the back of a solid performance last week at the Valspar Championship in Florida, where his last round 68 was equal best score on a windy and tough Sunday.
 
Sharma was seventh here last year after going into Sunday with the lead, but his middling finish at T-30 while defending the Maybank Championship in Kuala Lumpur had a strong finish and that will help steady his nerves.
 
Hend, who broke a near three-year drought with the Maybank title last week is here. So is last year’s other top-three finisher Sihwan Kim of the USA and Maybank Runner-up Nacho Elvira of Spain.
 
All of them will be looking with some trepidation at the course. But both Lahiri and Sharma said the course is playing much better than last year.
 
Added Lahiri, “It looks immaculate. This course is probably in the best shape that any of us has seen so far. It seems to be the most playable compared to all the other years we’ve played.
 
“The greens are definitely a lot softer and the grass has settled down. In the sense of what to expect this week, it will be a great golf course, we’ll see how it goes because it really changes depending on if the tees are pushed back or pushed forward. That’s a big factor here.”
 
 Indians are always considered the toughest to beat on home soil, but with the field having four players in Top-100 of the world, none of whom is an Indian, besides a lot of others ranked between 100 and 150, there will be a stiff battle over the next four days.
 
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Wiesberger stars as World Team beats Asians in Skills Challenge at Hero Indian Open

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Bernd Wiesberger put his rivals on the notice. The display he put up at the Hero Skills Challenge here on Tuesday indicated that he is on the right path. 
 
The Austrian, who was out of action from May to November last year due to a wrist injury, showed some skillful play as he won his team, the Rest of the World (RoW), three of the four Skills against an Asian foursome at the action-packed forerunner of the Hero Indian Open, which gets underway on Thursday.
 
The Challenge was played out at the ninth hole of the Gary Player course at the DLF Golf and Country Club.
 
Each Skill win was worth $ 2,500, which meant the RoW won US $ 7,500, while the Asian team won US $ 2,500. But the winnings were donated to a charity.
 
The prizes were given away by Pawan Munjal, Chairman, Hero MotoCorp.
 
Wiesberger was the star of the RoW team comprising captain, Pablo Larrazabal and his Spanish teammate, Adrian Otaegui, the second highest ranked player in the field, and South African Brandon Stone.
 
The Asian team comprised skipper Shiv Kapur, two-time Hero Indian Open winner SSP Chawrasia, Asian Tour 2018 No. 1 Shubhankar Sharma and Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond, who has been having a great season.
 
It was Kapur, who set the ball rolling for the home team, as he hit his chip shot from 80-odd yards to 18 inches with his first attempt and decided to forego his next two attempts as RoW’s Larrazabal and Otaegui were further than that from the pin. Chawrasia was the second Asian player in the Challenge.
 
The next Skill required precision and none was better than Wiesberger, who hit the platform with the Hero Bike on it twice in three shots. For Asia, Chawrasia failed on all three tries and Jazz managed it once in three shots. Stone also failed in his attempts.
 
Skipper Larrazabal was the best when it came to the bunker shot from 67 yards and hit his shot to within five feet five inches Shubhankar and Jazz of Asia were unable to get closer than that. Otaegui was the second RoW player.
 
In the final Skills Challenge, the Long Putt, Wiesberger was again the best, putting to 15 inches from the far end of the green on the ninth. Kapur and Shubhankar were the ones to have a go at the Challenge, while the second RoW player was Stone.
 
The action now shifts to the official Pro-Am scheduled for Wednesday.
 
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