Mumbai, Mar 12 (UNI) Mumbai's Akshay Khilachand beat back the challenge from eleven other golfers from around the country to emerge triumphant in the Standard Chartered Golf Tiger 2006 all-India golf tournament, promoted by Tiger Sports Marketing, which concluded at the Willingdon Sports Club's golf course here today.
Khilachand, a regular on the amateur golf circuit and a member of the Willingdon Sports Club golf team, with a handicap of 6, finished with a net stableford score of 36, pushing into second place another golfer from Mumbai, Ashish Mahtani, who tallied 34. In all, twelve golfers, representing the four zones of the country, qualified to play the final from the zonal rounds, which saw competition from around 2500 golfers, representing 19 clubs and from nine cities around the country.
The 34-year-old Khilachand, director of the Indian Commercial Company, had the advantage of playing on his home course and finished the first nine holes three over, before returning on the back nine two over. He had a birdie on the 14th hole.
Competition was tough between him and Mahtani, with both golfers on level scores till the 16th hole. In the 17th hole, Mahtani hit his second shot into the bunker and then bogeyed the hole, whereas Khilachand had a par. The 18th holes also saw Mahtani bogey, while Khilachand held his nerves for par and the title.
Khilachand won an all-expenses paid four-day trip for two to the old course at St. Andrew's, Scotland, with three rounds of golf thrown in, while Mahtani took home a top of the line golf set, both prizes presented by Jaspal Bindra, GM, South&South East Asia, Standard Chartered Bank.
''I knew I had to come up with a higher level of golf to defeat this field, which had come through the qualifying rounds, as I was unaware about the standard of their game,'' said Khilachand after the win. He also added that he was pleased to be travelling to St.
Andrew's, ''as it was every golfers dream to play at the home of golf.'' Incidentally, this will be Khilachand's third trip to St.
Andrew's having won a similar prize in 2004 and having also been there on a golfing vacation before.
UNI GS MAZ ARB RK2226