February 17, 2009 11:27:55 pm
In the end,one was left with no choice but to applaud Abhishek Jhas feat as he thwarted off a spirited challenge from Rashid Khan to win his second successive title on the LG Amateur Tour. Listening to the young man talk after his win,it gave me a feeling that in him we have someone who will definitely go on to achieve great feats for Indian golf in the near future.
Most people would fall by the wayside when faced with a charge from behind. Going into the final round with a three-stroke lead isnt necessarily always an advantage as was evident from what the 22-year-old told me before the round.
Quite a few people dont know what to do when faced with such a scenario where you dont know how to approach the final round. Deciding if one should attack or play conservative golf is something that leaves many seasoned veterans with a lot to ponder. But right from the first hole where he sunk a birdie,it was clear that the man was on a mission and there was very little that was going to stop him. There was a point when Rashid Khans putter caught fire but it was of no use as Jha never allowed that to affect his game and he went about the course collecting birdies with amazing ease.
But having said all that,I have to laud Rashids attempt. For a young lad,a few days shy of his 18th birthday,he showed incredible mettle and it almost seemed like a miracle was in the offing.
After starting poorly,the boy was clearly disturbed but he channelised that frustration and made six birdies over a run of eight holes. Close shaves on a couple of holes prevented what could have been an unfathomable run of eight continuous birdies.
It is easy to shoot low when you are playing well but in a sport like golf,the real challenge is to rise up to the challenge when nothing is going your way. It demands a lot of mental strength and few players can manage to turn their game around the way he did. It would be really interesting to see how far he advances at the LG All-India Amateur.
The All-India,owing to its history and the fact that it is the national amateur championship is undoubtedly the most important tournament on the LG Amateur Tour. Any player worth his salt would try desperately to annex this title and over the years,all of Indias golfing greats have had their name inscribed on the title. The fact that it is a matchplay event adds an interesting dimension to it.
We even have a team from Afghanistan coming to play in the tournament. It promises to be an interesting week and I am sure the golf lovers in the city of joy would be present in good numbers to see some of the countrys best talent on display.
(Brandon De Souza is the MD & CEO of Tiger Sports Marketing)
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