Ormsby Wins Panasonic Open India; Kapur Top Indian at 4th; Seven Indians in Top 15
By Deepak Arora
NEW DELHI, April 7: Even before Indians could settle down with the thrashing win over Australian cricket team, another Australian Wade Ormsby swept away the dreams of several top Indian Golf players to win his maiden Asian Tour title at the Panasonic Open India.
Ormsby not only did that but also denied Thai veteran Boonchu Ruangkit from a historic victory at the Delhi Golf Club on Sunday.
Ormsby overcame a disastrous triple bogey on the third hole to shoot a final round one-under-par 71 to win the US$300,000 tournament by one stroke from the 56-year-old Boonchu, who was bidding to become the oldest winner on the region’s premier Tour.
The wire-to-wire win earned Ormsby’s the winner’s cheque of US $ 54,000 and moved him up to eighth place on the Order of Merit.
“It was the belief in me that carried me throughout and resulted in the sweet and maiden title for me,” said Ormsby.
There were seven Indians in top-14 finishers and Shiv Kapur was the top Indian at fourth. Kapur was in contention till three holes from the finish before he ran into trouble on 16th and 18th and dropped shots on both to drop to fourth, while SSP Chowrasia (68) made a valiant bid only to end up fifth alongside defending champion Digvijay Singh, who was the only player in the field to card four sub-par rounds, and Anura Rohana, who had an eagle and three birdies in last five holes. They all tied for fifth at five-under.
Shamim Khan, who barely made the cut continued his great work over the weekend following up his third round 67 with a final round of 69 to be tied eighth, while Rahil Gangjee, with five birdie on the front nine, carded 68 to be tied 10th with local lad Manav Jaini (72) and Siddikur at three-under.
Singapore’s Lam Chih Bing, who led briefly during the final round, settled for third place after carding a level par 72 while Shiv Kapur’s search for a first win on his home course was extended after he bogeyed two of his last three holes to finish three shots behind Ormsby in fourth position.
Ormsby, who held at least a share of the lead from the opening day, birdied the second hole but stumbled badly with a seven at the next hole.
However, the Aussie showed great character by shooting birdies on the fifth, seventh and eighth holes to stay in the title hunt.
He bogeyed the 12th and needed an 18-foot birdie conversion on 17 which proved decisive as Boonchu’s title challenge faded with a bogey on 16.
“It means so much. I’ve played tournaments worldwide but to finally get a win in Asia is fantastic. I felt pretty good on the fourth tee but I just put my head down and tried to get down into it and birdied the fifth,” said Ormsby.
“I was so disappointed in Malaysia and Chiangmai as I played well on both weeks but didn’t finish them off. I knew there was a win in there for me and I am glad I came here,” added the Australian who finished tied-33rd and tied-20th in Malaysia and Chiangmai respectively.
Boonchu, who was bidding to become the oldest winner in the Asian Tour history, seemed on course to create history but a costly bogey on the 16th put paid to all hopes.
“Conditions were really tough out there the entire week but to be able to play the way I did even at 56 years old really says a lot about my game,” said Boonchu.
“I’ve shown that I still have what it takes to compete against the younger boys but I just ran out of steam towards the end. But overall, it has been a good week and all I can say is never write off an old man!” smiled Boonchu.
Despite finishing third, Lam found the much needed self-belief again. The 36-year-old was seeking to end his five-year title drought and losing his Tour card last season was a rude awakening for him.
“Maybe losing my Tour card last year was a blessing in disguise as it was a wake-up call. I reassessed my game and took pains to put in those extra hours in getting back my best form,” said Lam. “Just being back in contention means a lot and more than anything else, I’ve learnt to believe in myself again” added Lam.
All the top-three players at the Panasonic Open India, Ormsby, Boonchu and Lam will be extended invitations to the Asia-Pacific Panasonic Open, sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour Organisation, in Osaka, Japan in September.
Ormsby keeps lead ahead of Lam at Panasonic Open India 2013
NEW DELHI, April 6: Australian Wade Ormsby survived a nightmarish front nine to keep a one shot lead over Lam Chih-Bing (73) at the end of the third day of the Panasonic Open India 2013. Ormsby is eighth-under 208, while Lam is seven-under 209 and the top Indian now is local DGC lad, Shiv Kapur, who battled to a even par 72 and shared the third spot with veteran Boonchu Ruangkit (73).
Ormsby, who opened with a birdie, just as his playing partner Lam Chih-Bing (73) did but then bogeyed four of times over the next eighth to drop from the lead. But the tenacious Aussie still looking for his maiden win on Asian tour, birdied the last hole to take sole possession of the lead, just as Lam Chih-Bing, crumbled on the back with four bogeys in last five holes.
Ormsby has held at least a share of the lead since the first day, when he and Singaporean Lam shot 67 each. Lam at one stage was threatening to win away at three-under for the day and 11-under for the tournament with five holes to play. But then things unraveled for him, while Ormsby held his nerve.
The Delhi Golf Club, always a challenging course with its narrow fairways, has been made even more difficult with swirling and windy conditions that have made scoring extremely tough at the third Panasonic Open India this week.
Even as leaders struggled in the wind, which has been a feature for the last three days, Jyoti Randhawa played a flawless five-under 67 and two other local DGC lads, Manav Jaini (68) and Shamim Khan (67) made the charge on the moving day, with handsome gains on the third day.
Randhawa describing his round as one the best he has played in more than a year, moved from one-over for two days to four-under for 54 holes and leapt from tied 22nd to sole fifth. Jaini, who has come close to his breakthrough win at this very club at least twice, rose from tied 22nd to the sixth spot, which he shares with defending champion Digvijay Singh, who played a third straight one-under 71, and was the only player with three sub-par rounds.
Shamim Khan, the No. 1 golfer of 2012 on Indian PGTI Tour, also catapulted up the leaderboard with a 67 with seven birdies and two bogeys. Now lying tied tenth, Shamim admitted, “I was not finishing well earlier on. I made double bogeys on the 17th and 18th in second round and thought I might miss the cut. But today’s round was better as I finished well with birdies on the last two holes. I also had 15 regulations today and was solid with my iron shots landing the ball pretty close.”
SSP Chowrasia (77) had a horrendous round with a five-over 77 that included four bogeys and one double bogey and just one birdie on eighth. “It was probably my worst round at the DGC,” said Chowrasia, who had a double on the last.
Kapur battled to an even par 72 and then likened the conditions to the ones that are generally seen at the US Open. He laughed and said, “It’s like the US Open conditions out there. I have never seen conditions like this at the DGC. Not even during an practice days. Par seems a good score in these conditions.” A huge cricket fan that he is, Kapur quickly rushed off to see the IPL cricket match in town. “I need to relax,” he said with a laugh.
Ormsby said, “I started fantastic but my putter was a bit dry today and I hope to get it going again tomorrow. I hit it pretty solid in my back-nine and I’m feeling good as it was kind of surprising to see myself leading at the end.”
He added, “The pressure’s always mounting, that’s golf. It’s just how you deal with it. I just wasn’t making the putts. But you just got to keep going on this golf course and see where you finish up. Straight up the hill, right to left and you shouldn’t miss them. It was definitely a sign of relief when I birdied that hole. My putter was frustrating me a bit and it was overall a tough day.”
Lam, who has a win on the Indian Tour in 2007, a year before his only Asian Tour title, was relieved to stay on in contention despite a collapse at the end.
He said, “I’m in contention and I’m in a pretty good position. I’m thrilled as it has been a while and although it was a rough finish, I’m still in it. I definitely had some positives that I could take out of today and I need to work on my finishing as it hasn’t been that great.”
He added, “Even though I missed a few putts coming in, the strokes were solid. It’s probably more a misread than anything else. I’m not going to dwell on what has happened the last few holes. I’m still in it and I look forward to tomorrow.”
Kapur, who has been in good form of late, added, “I was a little frustrated and angry after my poor start. I had a bad swing on the third that resulted in the double bogey. At that stage I told myself not to quit as it would just take a few birdies to be back in the game.
“I got two birdies on 12th and 14th and I got lucky on the 18th as my second shot rebounded off the marquee and landed back in play. I capitalized on that lucky break and earned a birdie with a good chip.
My local knowledge will give me a one shot advantage over the others on the final day. I have no target for the final round as in such windy conditions one has to play every hole on merit. Par on a hole is a good score here.”
In the evening, Kunal Dua, Head of Sports Marketing, Panasonic India, and Htwe Hia Han of Asian Tour gave away prizes to the lucky dip winners of the day.
Ormsby Takes Day Two Lead At Panasonic Open India
NEW DELHI, April 5: Wade Ormsby of Australia took a two-stroke lead at the $300,000 Panasonic Open India on Friday after posting a five-under-par 67 for a second day running.
Singapore's Lam Chih Bing, who had earlier taken the morning lead, slipped to second place after he carded a 69 at the Delhi Golf Club, while SSP Chowrasia of India was joint third alongside Thai veteran Boonchu Ruangkit.
Chowrasia is India's two-time winner on Asian and European Tours.
The second best Indian Shiv Kapur (71-68) may well have been higher than his fifth place, but for a double bogey on the sixth, his 15th hole, while the steady
Digvijay Singh (71-71) was tied seventh alongside five others, including youngsters S Chikkrangappa, who shot a flawless 70, and Amardip Sinh Malik (71-71).
One shot behind them were three more Indians, Anirban Lahiri (71-72), local man Chiragh Kumar (70-73) and the seasoned Gulfam (71-72).
Prominent Indians who missed the cut were Gaganjeet Bhullar (76-75) and Himmat Rai
Also missing the cut was Oliver Wilson (78-82).
The 33-year-old Ormsby began the day with two birdies in his opening three holes. He birdied again on the eight before dropping his only shot of the round on the par-four nine, and turned on 34.
He then made three more birdies on holes 13, 16 and 18, putting him in with a good chance of winning his maiden Asian Tour event.
"There were lots of cross winds and it was tricky to try and keep them in the fairways. I just have to keep doing what I've been doing. My short game was fantastic today and hopefully that continues," said the Australian said.
Meanwhile Lam knows he has to stay focused to grind out a victory despite competing on numerous occasions at the Delhi Golf Club.
"You can know the course very well but you still have to perform," said Lam.
Boxer Vijender Singh consumed heroin 12 times: Punjab Police
CHANDIGARH, March 31: Beijing Olympics bronze medalist Vijender Singh, who is in the eye of a storm in connection with a multi-crore drug haul, had allegedly consumed heroin about a dozen times after procuring it from suspected drug dealer NRI Anoop Singh Kahlon who is under arrest, Punjab Police said on Sunday.
“As per investigation conducted so far, Vijender Singh consumed the drug about 12 times and Ram Singh about five times. During the investigation, it has been established that boxers Ram Singh and Vijender Singh took heroin from Anoop Singh Kahlon and Rocky for personal consumption between December 2012 and February 2013,” a Punjab Police spokesperson said in a press statement.
But, police said both boxers “did not actively connive” with Kahlon and Rocky and nothing was recovered from them. “As such both of them are not being arrested in the case at this stage,” police said.
It was in middle of December 2012 when Vijender and his roommate Ram Singh, a national champion boxer, began experimenting with heroin. The seizure of 26kg heroin by Punjab Police from Kahlon and his accomplice Rocky — arrested from Zirakpur near Chandigarh on March 3 — has put Vijender and Ram under the police scanner.
Later, on March 10, Ram had also said that he and Vijender took heroin three-four times from their “friend” Kahlon and consumed it "for fun", but had denied knowledge of Kahlon’s business.
In February alone, Vijender and Kahlon had spoken on the phone at least a dozen times, while Ram and Kahlon had exchanged over 50 calls during the same time.
In fact, Vijender found himself under probe after Kahlon named him and Ram as “clients”.
Top Japanese premium golf brand, XXIO Clubs, launched in India
By Deepak Arora
GURGAON, March 22: Much to the delight of local and expatriate golfers, Japan’s top brand, XXIO clubs, have been launched in India.
Inaugurating the XXIO store at Golf Studio in the DT Mega Mall here on Friday, Matt Yasumoto, Managing Director, Srixon Sports Asia, informed that XXIO (pronounced as zek-si-oh) has been Number One Golf Brand in Japan and Korea for over a decade.
Present at the launch ceremony among others were Mr Ajay Kapur and Mr Baljit Ahluwalia, Directors of Golf Studio, Mr Rahul Khanna, Owner of Karma, Mr Leon Low, Assistant Manager (Sales and marketing), Srixon Sports Asia, and Ajay Pratap Singh Gujral, a golf instructor.
In a tête-à-tête with this correspondent, Mr Matt Yasumoto said “we chose Gurgaon as we would like to target the large population of over 10,000 Japanese and Koreans working here and has several major golf courses in and around it.
These include DLF Golf & Country Club, Golden Greens Golf & Resorts, Classic Golf Resort, Karma Lakelands Golf Course, Tarudhan Golf Course, TERI Golf Course, Delhi Golf Course, Qutub Golf Club and Army Golf course.
Mr Yasumoto, who is based in Malaysia and looks after the South East Asia and Middle East Asia markets, informed that XXIO is a premium product as its cost of making and attention to develop it very high.
“The brand is also associated as a status symbol and is like owning a Mercedes or BMW.”
XXIO is part of the Dunlop Sports Co. Ltd. Family and has now met with tremendous success with discerning golf players in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam, Philippines, USE and Qatar.
“Now we would like to replicate this success in India which has growing number of golf lovers,” he said.
Dunlop Sports Co. Ltd. is a leading Japanese manufacturer of tires, sporting goods and industrial products and is a company with 70 years experience in golf ball manufacturing.
Mr Matt Yasumoto was named Managing Director of Srixon Sports Asia in April 2009.
Prior to that he was Executive Director for Srixon and President of Cleveland Golf Asia Company Limited. Other positions which have been held by him include President of Ping Japan.
Matt Yasumot has graduated from Sophia University in Tokyo and his hometown in Yokohama city. He was born on July 30, 1959.
By bringing to India its high-end premium line of golf equipment, XXIO, Srixon Sports Asia underlines its vision of growth for the Indian golf market which has seen tremendous maturity over the last few years. With the benefit of advanced technology from Japan, XXIO will be the equipment of choice for all golfers.
Mr Rahul Khanna, who is the owner of Karma that is the sole distributor for XXIO and other Japanese brands like Srixon and Cleveland Golf, said India now has a large growing population of expats. For example, he said, during the weekend over 100 expats play at the DLF Golf Club and at other Golf courses 60 per cent of players are non-Indians.
Mr Khanna said the golf industry in India is close to Rs 40 crore.
He said Karma took its first step in the golf business in the year 2006 and has grown many fold since. Karma is one of the leading multi-brands Golf Equipment and Accessories Distribution Company in India.
“We are one stop shop for retail and corporate partners. Karma has developed a reputation for offering quality golf products at every price point and user,” informed Mr Khanna.
The XXIO brand will make its India debut in New Delhi in March, followed by Bengaluru and Chennai in April and May respectively.
Later in the evening, a cocktail party was hosted by Matt Yasumoto, Managing Director, Srixon Sports Asia, which was attended by leading persons from the Golf world.
Also present at the evening party were Ms Htwe Hia Han, Senior Director, Tour Development, Asian Tour Headquarters, and Lady team members of Srixon including Ankita Tiwana and Pallavi Jain.
Also present were Mr Ajay Kapur and Mr Baljit Ahluwalia, Directors of Golf Studio, Mr Rahul Khanna, Owner of Karma, Mr Leon Low, Assistant Manager (Sales and marketing), Srixon Sports Asia.
Tiger Woods wins at Bay Hill to reclaim world No. 1 spot
ORLANDO (Florida): Tiger Woods reclaimed the world number one ranking for the first time since October 2010 with a closing round of two-under 70 to capture the PGA Tour's Arnold Palmer Invitational on Monday.
With his eighth Bay Hill course triumph, 37-year-old Woods replaced Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy atop the rankings and set the seal on an extraordinary comeback after a spectacular fall from personal and professional grace.
"I play well here," said Woods, who earned $1.08 million in prize money after a closing round of two-under 70. "That is about as simple as it gets. It is a by-product of hard work and patience."
It took an extra day, but Woods out-dueled fellow American Rickie Fowler down the stretch, winning the $6.2 million event by two strokes.
Woods has won 14 majors in his career and had previously spent a record 623 weeks on top of the world.
But he has not led the rankings for nearly three years, after injuries and an infamous scandal saw him stumble. Woods fell to his lowest rank on November 11, 2011 when he dropped to 58th in the world.
His woes began in 2009 when a US tabloid aired claims he had had an affair with a nightclub manageress. Two days later, amid speculation about his marriage, he was slightly injured when he crashed his car near his home.
In December of that year, Woods issued two statements admitting to serial marital infidelity and announced he would take a break from golf. He later said that he had undergone therapy to help him change his behavior.
He returned to golf at the 2010 Masters in April, but his marriage was over and his divorce with former model Elin Nordegren was granted in August. His game had clearly suffered during the turmoil and his return to the top took three years.
Last week, Woods announced that he was dating US ski star Lindsey Vonn, and this weekend's tournament seems to have confirmed his return to form.
"The first step in the process was getting healthy. Once I got there, then my game turned," Woods said. "I've won six times on the tour the last couple years. That's not bad."
Woods also claimed his 77th PGA Tour victory - his 99th professional victory - in his final tune-up event for next month's Masters.
The Monday finish followed a severe thunder storm on Sunday that postponed the fourth round. The storm swept across the Bay Hill Club & Lodge course with gusting winds toppling trees and television towers.
Woods and playing partner Fowler began on the third hole Monday and Woods quickly set the tone with birdies on a pair of par-fives.
He finished on 18 with a bogey but it was enough to reach 13-under 275, giving him the win and propelling him the Number One spot for the first time since October 2010.
"I am getting back to winning golf tournaments," Woods said. "I won some golf tournaments the last couple years so consequently I moved up."
Runner-up Justin Rose fired a two-under 70 to finish at 11-under while Fowler stumbled down the stretch, closing with a one-over 73 as he plummeted to a four-way tie for third at eight-under 280.
Fowler finished alongside Mark Wilson (71), Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (72) and Keegan Bradley (71).
Woods, who has won six times in his last 20 tournaments, attributes his recent success to learning how to juggle his family life with golf.
"It was a lot easier to work on the game and make all those changes when I was younger," he said Monday. "Having family responsibilities changes things. Trying to find the time to do it tests your time-management skills.
"I had to work differently. It was going to have to be done in short bursts. But I wouldn't trade it. My two little ones are the most important thing in my life."
Woods has now won 51 times in 55 tries when holding the lead entering the final round and is five wins shy of matching Sam Snead's all-time record on the PGA Tour.
He and Snead are also the only players to win the same tournament eight times with Snead doing it at the Greater Greensboro Open.
Panasonic Open India returns in April
By Deepak Arora
NEW DELHI, March 21: The Panasonic Open India will return to the Delhi Golf Club from April 4 to 7 with its third edition promising to showcase the depth in strength of Indian golf while further promoting the subcontinent as a leading tourist and golfing destination.
As one of four events in India to feature prominently on the 2013 Asian Tour Schedule, the Panasonic Open India, sanctioned with the PGTI, will once again attract big galleries to the venerable Delhi Golf Club to witness four days of world-class golf action.
In the inaugural season, Anirban Lahiri broke through with a stylish victory for his maiden Asian Tour title while countryman Digvijay Singh ensured the trophy remained in India after another captivating performance where he sealed his first triumph as well on the region’s premier Tour.
Mr. Manish Sharma, Managing Director, Consumer Product Division, Panasonic India said, “The country has grown keen towards the game of golf in recent years. We see a lucrative opportunity through such associations to connect better with the youth and masses. It was a huge success last year and we are very much looking forward to the third edition of the Panasonic Open India in April. This event has played a big role in establishing the careers of two of India’s finest golfers, Anirban Lahiri and Digvijay Singh, and we look forward to celebrating another great and worthy champion at the Delhi Golf Club. We will continue our attempt to make valuable additions to the tournament every year to make it more exciting for our stakeholders as well as the audience.”
The tricky Delhi Golf Club, known for its tree-lined fairways and challenging layout, has been a happy hunting ground for local stars and it will be intriguing to see if the international players will be able to wrest the Panasonic Open India trophy away from local hands.
The full-field Asian Tour event will offer a total prize fund of US$300,000. The top three players of the Panasonic Open India will be extended invitations to the Asia Pacific Panasonic Open which will be held in Osaka, Japan this September.
Delhi Golf Club President I V S Juneja said: “The Delhi Golf Club with its rich history of having hosted the first Indian Open in 1964 and the Asian Games in 1982 deems it an honour to host the third Panasonic Open India 2013. We are proud to host the Panasonic Open where leading professional golfers from different parts of the world will participate in the prestigious Panasonic Open India 2013 giving us the opportunity to see them all in action.”
Anirban Lahiri, the first winner of Panasonic Open India in 2011, said, "The win changed the way I looked at my career. I had won four - five times in India, but a win in a big event like Panasonic Open India changed my perspective and allowed me to aspire for higher goals. It is out good fortune that events like Panasonic Open India is here and giving home golfers such a great chance."
Seated next to him, Digvijay Singh, the defending champion, added, "I had come close to winning on Asian Tour, but I am proud to have achieved my first big win at the Panasonic Open India 2012. I am looking forward to defending my title and I would like to put on record that this event has done Indian golf a lot of good."
Asian Tour Executive Chairman, Kyi Hla Han said: “On behalf of our players, I would like to extend our fullest appreciation to Panasonic for its generous sponsorship. India is one of our biggest partners and the Panasonic Open India certainly reflects the strength of our association with golf in India."
“The Asian Tour works closely with the PGTI to develop the game and create playing opportunities for our members and I am certain we will welcome a worthy winner in April,” said Han.
PGTI Director, Padamjit Sandhu said: “The Panasonic Open India has become a major tournament on the Indian golfing calendar and the PGTI is delighted and thankful for the support from Panasonic. Indian stars have won the event over the past two seasons and I am looking forward to seeing the PGTI players competing well against the stars from the Asian Tour.”
The Panasonic Open India, sanctioned by the Asian Tour and the Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI), will return for its third edition from April 4 to April 7.
In 2013, the Asian Tour is celebrating a momentous milestone with its 10th season. As the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia, the Asian Tour leads the development of golf across the region, enhancing the careers of its members while maintaining a commitment to the integrity of the game. The Asian Tour, through its membership of the International Federation of PGA Tours, is the only recognised pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia. This unique feature positions the Asian Tour at the pinnacle of professional golf in Asia; providing its events with Official World Ranking status.
Rajiv Hora is new Vice President DLF Golf Club
GURGAON, March 7: Mr Rajiv Hora has joined as Vice President of the DLF Golf & Country Club. Rajiv will be responsible for all day to day operations of the Club.
He is a graduate of Delhi University and a Tea Planter by profession having worked for Duncan Brothers, Jorehat Tea Co and Rajabhat Tea Company.
After Tea Rajiv joined as Secretary of the Delhi Golf Club and successfully steered the ship at the Delhi Golf Club for eight years.
He brings with him 37 years of rich experience which would take the Club to the next level.