New Delhi, September 4
Rashid Khan clinched the LG Northern India Amateur Championship. Starting the day five shots back, Rashid carded a round of six-under 66 to win his second title on the LG Amateur Tour this season.
15-year-old Ankur held together bravely but couldn’t match Rashid’s pace and finished runner-up in his first start on the amateur circuit. Bangalore’s Abhishek Jha, the overnight leader, could not hold on to his position and finished with a disappointing 78 on the final day.
18-year-old Rashid, playing one group ahead of the leaders, got into top gear very early on, with his tee shot on the par-3 5th, which landed five-feet from the pin, assuring him of his third birdie of the day. He went on to convert one more birdie chance on the par-5 8th and at four-under for the round after his front-nine, he was already one ahead of the nearest contender.
While everyone expected Jha to hold his ground, it was the rookie on tour, Ankur Chadha, who stayed in the hunt, and even pulled level with Rashid after a tap-in for birdie on the par-4 11th. Both players stayed neck-and-neck and it was heading for a tight finish till Rashid found another gear and swiftly pulled ahead with a birdie-birdie finish.
After pocketing his sixth amateur title, a relieved Rashid said, “I played a very poor third round and I was really frustrated with myself. I knew the only chance of winning a title was if I carded a low round.” He went on to add, “I think the third hole, where my ball found a waterlogged bunker, was crucial because I hit a great shot from there and made a 20-foot birdie putt and that is when I felt I could find a few more birdies today.”
Ankur, a regular on the junior circuit, finished with a round of 73 but he was still four clear of third-placed Jha. “The experience was great and I got a lot of confidence from this,” said the youngster before going on to say, “I will be playing more tournaments on the amateur circuit as long as it does not clash with any tournament on the junior tour.”
The next stop on tour will be the LG Chandigarh Open Amateur in October, where the two-time winner this season, Rashid will also go in as the defending champion.
Leaderboard: 286: Rashid Khan (74,68,66), 289: Ankur Chadha (74,68,74, 73), 293: Abhishek Jha (70,72,73, 78), 297: Ashbeer Saini (76,75,73, 73), 298: Moin Malak (75,71,76, 76), 299: Saurabh Bahuguna (77,78,73,71), 300: Khalin Joshi (74,79,76,71), 300: SK Lakra (70,79,70, 81), 301: Rahul Bajaj (72,70,82, 77), 302: Kanishk Madan (72,80,77,73), 302: Gagan Verma (79,74,75,74), 303: Abhinav Lohan (74,73,76, 80)