Chandigarh, Jan 19 (UNI) Abhishek Jha will face local lad Rahul Bakshi tomorrow for the title in the 107th LG Indian Open Amateur Golf Championship as they recorded clinical wins in the semifinals played at the 72-par Chandigarh Golf Club here today.
Jha overcame seasoned campaigner Manav Das 4 and 3 and Bakshi snuffed out the challenge of Malaysian Mohd Arie with a 3 and 2 win.
Rahul warmed up with a birdie on the second to go 1-up and kept the pressure to win the fourth and fifth with a birdie and par respectively and by the eighth he was 4-up.
When it looked like it was going to be a one-sided affair, Arie pulled one back with a good par on the ninth after being in the jungle on the left.
On the back nine, Bakshi got lucky on the par-3 11th where his tee shot back-kicked and climbed the green from where he made a par.
Even as he was about to walk to the next tee, he could not believe his opponent missing a small par putt which gave the local lad a 4-up lead. On the CNN Hole-in-One Par-3 14th, where the prize for a hole-in-one fetches a new golf set, Arie sank an incredible 15-footer for a birdie against Rahul's par to reduce the lead.
However, with the next two holes being halved, the players did the customary handshake on the 16th hole itself.
In the second semi-final, Manav Das called the first shots while Abhishek Jha made a bogey on the opening hole.
Jha leveled the score on the par-3 third and went 1-up ahead on the sixth. Finally on the par-3 eighth, Das made a birdie to equalize.
Jha parred the par-4 ninth after he did not have any shot on his second and had to play left-handed to chip-out on the fairway.
His third shot landed just a couple of feet from the pin.
With the scores level after the first nine, it seemed the match actually began from the 10th.
Both the players were consistent. Jha in making pars and Das in making bogeys! While Jha made six pars in a row, Das made four bogeys in six holes to give Jha an unbeatable 4-up lead by the 15th where the lanky Jha saved an amazing par. After hitting his drive on the left of the par-4 15th, hit behind a tree on the left and chipped to about 11 feet with a scary looking left to right curving putt.
The moment the ball left the putter, Jha was sure that it had found its mark and exulted in joy.
UNI XC JN VN1946