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Unheralded Golfers upset top seeds to set up SRF Matchplay final

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Apr 14 (UNI) Unheralded local golfers Shamim Khan and Vinod Kumar created major upset as they stunned top seed Mukesh Kumar and second seed Vijay Kumar respectively to set up a title clash in the SRF All-India Matchplay Championship here today.

Shamim Khan ousted Mukesh Kumar 2-up and Vinod Kumar pull the rug from under the feet of Vijay Kumar by an identical score-line.

As the contest began, Shamim wielded a driver and three-iron to place his ball 40 feet from the pin and then went on to find the cup in one long right to left uphill effort for eagle. Mukesh just picked up his ball and proceeded to the second tee box. Both golfers birdied that hole to halve and went neck to neck till the eighth tee box. This included another birdie-birdie tie on the fifth where Shamim sank a ten-footer and watched helplessly as Mukesh found the cup from 25 feet.

On the par-five eighth, Shamim placed his driver, four-wood comb o on the fringe of the green and two-putted for birdie. Mukesh parred to go two-down.

On the tenth, Mukesh birdied to reduce Shamim's lead to 1-up.

The pressure was however still on the top seed. After two halved holes with pars, the 13th witnessed the golfers halve with birdies.

The 14th gave a whiff of hope to Mukesh after Shamim's driver, four-iron, pitching wedge combo landed him in the rough to the left of the green. He bogeyed and scores were now all-square.

The local golfer however pulled back with a birdie on the 15th.

Status quo till in the 18th and Mukesh was left with no option but to attack on the final hole. However, after an accurate driver shot, he sliced his ball deep into the right bushes next to the green. A penalty drop and a superb chip shot were not good enough to beat Shamim's par and Goliath was slain.

Vijay and Vinod matched each other shot for shot all through the day. The second seed began the day with a birdie but Vinod levelled scores with a birdie of his own on the second.

Four halved holes followed before Vijay placed his six-iron two feet from the pin to birdie and win the seventh. On the eighth, both golfers birdied after excellent approach shots left them with two footers to sink. A halved ninth later the duo walked onto the tenth tee box with Vijay leading at 1-up.

Vijay stepped on the gas on the tenth sinking a 12-footer for birdie and followed up with another birdie on the 11th to go three-up. On the par-three 12th, his six-iron tee shot found the left bushes and his bogey on that hole, reduced his lead to two.

This was followed soon after by another bogey by the Lucknow pro, this on the 14th. 1-down to Vijay at this stage, Vinod seized the opportunity to tighten the screw which is exactly what his birdie on the 15th did.

Both golfers bogeyed the 16th. the second seed dropped a shot on the 17th where both he and Vinod hit errant tee shots. On the 18th, at 1-down to Vinod, Vijay in a bid to attack the pin took the Mukesh route, landing his second shot in the bushes. Vinod birdied to win.


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