Amateur Golf: Exciting finish on cards

Last Updated: Sat, Jan 12, 2013 11:13 hrs

Young Viraj Madappa kept the hosts' flag flying high when he set up a title clash with Delhi's Shubhankar Sharma in a 36-hole duel being played for the prestigious 112th Tata Steel Amateur Golf Championship crown at the Royal Calcuttta Golf Club.

In a semifinal bout played on Saturday, Viraj made short work of his opponent Abel Tam from Malaysia 7 & 6 while Shubhankar stopped Arshad Ali 4 & 3 in the other semifinal.

Tam who was slowed down by the dreaded Delhi-belly as after a quiet start of being all square at the end of two holes, Viraj got to being 4-Up by the ninth and closed the match on 12th holes itself for a 7 & 6 victory.

His stroke play round for the 12 holes of regulation play was 2-under but with the bogeyman haunting Tam, it unfortunately turned to being a one-sided match.

In the other match, between Shubhankar and Arshad, there were eight birdies that the players shared in what was a much closer duel than the score suggests.

Shubhankar sounded the warning with birdies on the first two holes and while Arshad responded to get the score back to all square after four.

It became quickly a one-horse race as Shubhankar opened up a four-hole advantage at the end of ten holes.

Minor slips in concentration saw the match get closer at the end of 13th when Arshad pulled back to 2-down but it was a case of too little too late as a birdie on the 15th from Shubhankar put the final nail in coffin.

Shubhankar reflected that he could have been out on the first day of the match play when he had a 30-foot putt which he hold on the second extra hole of his first round match with Manpreet Mann and having won that encounter on the 21st hole, he felt that it was a message from the heavens that this was going to be his week.

No one from the Indian Golf Union or the Sponsors- Tata Steel could have asked for a better script as the National Championship of the Country winds down with what is surely going to be an enthralling 36-hole final.

For all the critics who thought, golf was only played as an older person, Sunday's final line-up has the current All India Junior Champion Viraj Madappa who has just completed 15 years of age and moved into the 'A' category will come up against the curren Faldo Series India Leg winner Shubhankar Sharma who is just a year older.

While it is being billed as a Kolkata versus Delhi clash, what augers well for Indian Golf is that talent is surfacing rapidly with the efforts the Indian Golf Union is making and these two young gladiators will be eagerly watched by the very enthusiastic Royal Calcutta Golf Club members and the other golfing fraternity of this sports crazy city.

In his way will be Viraj who is now one match away from being the youngest national champion in the history of Indian Golf and in with a chance of holding both the senior and junior title at the same time.

Regardless, it is a special date- January 13 as whoever wins, Indian Golf is on the rise.

Results Semifinals

Shubhankar Sharma (3) bt Arshad Ali (10) 4 & 3

Viraj Madappa(5) bt Abel Tam (Malaysia, 8) 7 & 6

Final round

Shubhankar Sharma (3) Vs. Viraj Madappa (5)

Morning Match of 18 holes starts at 7.30 am

Afternoon Match of second 18 holes starts at 11.30 am

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