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Golf is a club and ball sport in which players use various clubs to hit balls into a series of holes on a course in as few strokes as possible.

Bhullar wins outstanding achievement as player award

Bhullar wins outstanding achievement as player award

New Delhi, April 27: Arjuna awardee and star Indian golfer Gaganjeet Bhullar won the outstanding achievement as a player award at the fourth edition of the annual India Golf Industry Association (GIA) awards at the Delhi Golf Club here on Friday.

The GIA awards were held along with the 8th India Golf & Turf Expo (IGTE), South Asia’s largest golf trade show.

Kapurthala-born Bhullar won the 2018 Fiji International, a European Tour event, and also holds the rare distinction of becoming the youngest golfer on the Asian Tour to achieve nine career victories on tour.

“It’s a great feeling to win this award in the midst of important people representing the industry in India. Marquee events, like the Indian Golf & Turf Expo, do a great job of getting golf professionals and authorities on one platform and is the right step towards strengthening the game in India,” said Bhullar after receiving the award.

“I am sure in the days to come, this industry and the game is going to grow further. On a personal front, awards like these are the right motivation that any golfer would want early in the season. I would also like to thank the Golf Industry Association (GIA) for awarding me with the Outstanding Achievement as a player award this year,” he said.

Vijay Divecha and Nonita Lal Qureshi were awarded for their contribution to golf coaching. While Divecha has coached star golfers, like Anirban Lahiri, Chikkarangappa and Udayan Mane; Qureshi, a fomer Arjuna awardee, is known for her contribution to the sport in India as an international player and then as coach to several top ladies and junior golfers who have performed outstandingly on the international circuits.

Addressing guests, Deepali Shah Gandhi, GIA acting president and patron, said, “I congratulate all the winners for their sterling efforts in promoting and popularising the game across the country. The GIA is committed to development and growth of the game at all levels. We hope this small token of appreciation goes a long way in encouraging all the stakeholders to do even better.”

Apart from individual awards, some other prominent awards presented include the ‘First 18 Holes International Standard Golf Course Development by a Smart City in India’ to The Naya Raipur Development Authority. In Naya Raipur, 27 per cent of land is devoted to greenery and the region’s environmental policies make it the first Greenfield Smart City in India.

The Royal Calcutta Golf Club and Eco Park, Kolkata, won the prestigious ‘Best Member Engagement Programme’ award for its successful Royal Premier Golf League and the ‘Best New Nine-Hole Golf course’ awards, respectively.

Will give Tiger Woods Presidential Medal of Freedom: Trump

Will give Tiger Woods Presidential Medal of Freedom: Trump

Washington, April 16: A day after ace golfer Tiger Woods won his fifth Masters title and 15th major tournament in a rousing resurrection of his career, US President Donald Trump said that he would give him the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Trump made the announcement on a Twitter post on Monday, but did not give any other details, reports The New York Times.

“Because of his incredible success and comeback in sports (golf) and, more important, life, I will be presenting him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom,” the President tweeted.

On Sunday, the golf icon won his fifth Masters, the first major of the season played this week at the Augusta National course in Georgia, 14 years after his first victory in 2005. His earlier Masters victories came in 1997, 2001, 2002 and 2005.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the nation’s highest civilian honour and is awarded to those who make outstanding contributions to national security or national interest, world peace, culture or other public or private endeavours.

The medal has been awarded since 1963, and is typically given to a dozen or fewer people each year.

Over the years numerous sports figures have received it, especially under the presidencies of George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Trump.

Last year Babe Ruth, Roger Staubach and Alan Page were awarded Presidential Medals of Freedom.

Woods will not be the first golfer to get the award; Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus were honoured in consecutive years in the mid-2000s, and Charles Sifford, the first African-American to play on the PGA Tour, was honoured in 2014.

Woods has a longstanding relationship with Trump, an avid golfer. They own property near each other in Florida and have golfed together a number of times, both before and after Trump became President.

In February, Trump tweeted a picture of himself with Woods and Nicklaus at the Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Florida.

With all that happened, lucky to do this again: Woods

With all that happened, lucky to do this again: Woods

London, April 15: Ace golfer Tiger Woods, who won the Masters for the fifth time at the first major of the season played at the Augusta National course, believes he was “just lucky to do this again”.

In a historic feat, Woods won his second major at Augusta on Sunday after a gap of 14 years. The 43-year-old brought a huge smile to the faces of his fans when he sank his last putt on the 18th green on a day marked by wind and light rain. Finishing a whopping 13 under par, Woods defeated his countrymen Dustin Johnson (-12), Xander Schauffele (-12) and Brooks Koepka (-12) to win his 15th tourney.

“With all the things that I’ve battled through, I’m just lucky to be able to do this again,” The Guardian quoted him as saying.

The golf icon, who had undergone several back operations and endured a series of personal vicissitudes over the past 11 years, also said that this win ranked among the top of his 15 majors. “It’s got to be right up there.”

He admitted that he was very disappointed when his kids watched him lose the Open to Francesco Molinari last year and therefore he was determined not to let that happen again. “I wasn’t going to let that happen again,” Woods said, “For them to see what it’s like to have their dad win a major championship, I hope that’s something they will never forget.”

His earlier Masters victories came in 1997, 2001, 2002 and 2005.

Tiger Woods bags fifth Masters at Augusta

Tiger Woods bags fifth Masters at Augusta

Augusta (Georgia), April 15: Golf icon Tiger Woods has won his fifth Masters, the first major of the season played this week at the Augusta National course, 14 years after his first victory here in 2005.

In a historic feat on Sunday, the 43-year-old golfer – who has undergone several back operations and endured a series of personal vicissitudes over the past 11 years – once again brought spectators to their feet shouting enthusiastically when he sank his last putt on the 18th green on a day marked by wind and light rain, Efe news reported.

His earlier Masters victories came in 1997, 2001, 2002 and 2005.

Finishing a whopping 13 under par, Woods – wearing a red shirt, black slacks and a black cap – beat out his countrymen Dustin Johnson (-12), Xander Schauffele (-12) and Brooks Koepka (-12) to win his 15th tourney.

“Tiger! Tiger! Tiger!” the crowd thundered at the 18th hole after he sank his last putt for the win. Woods, outwardly calm and cool the entire day up to then, let it all hang out at that point, throwing up his arms and yelling for joy, along with the hundreds of fans clustered around he green.

Every time he does something well, whatever it is, you hear a shout, said golfer Koepka earlier regarding the cheers for Woods that periodically shook the atmosphere at Augusta on the last few holes.

The day began with Italy’s Francesco Molinari in the lead and sharing the top slot with Woods and US golfer Tony Finau. Molinari at one point got three strokes ahead, but the water hazards at August swallowed one of his shots, thus drowning his chances to take the tourney.

“Instead of playing aggressively, I made my swing a little defensive because of the wind. I don’t think it was my best day, although I’m very happy with my first nine holes,” Molinari – the winner of the 2018 British Open where he finished 11 under par along with Finau and American Webb Simpson, as well as Australian Jason Day – told EFE.

In a post-game television interview, Woods said: “I’m a little hoarse from yelling … When I tapped the (last) putt in, I don’t know what I did; I know I screamed. To have my kids there, it’s come full circle. My dad was there in ’97 (at his first Masters win), and now I’m the dad.”

Sunday’s Masters was one of the most emotional in memory. Up until the last few holes, a dozen players – all tightly packed in the scoring – had a chance to win, including Americans Patrick Cantlay and Rickie Fowler, as well as Spain’s Jon Rahm, all at -10.

“It was a big struggle to get where I am and much remains to be done. In comparison with the rest of those who are ahead of me, I needed a round of -6 or -7 to give myself a chance (to win),” said Rahm, ranked No. 8 in the world, although he stepped on the gas on the last several holes, and scored three birdies and an eagle starting on the seventh hole.

The other Spaniard at the Masters on the weekend, Rafa Cabrera Bello, had an disappointing outing on the past three days and finished -4. “The main difference is that I putted well. It’s been a bittersweet feeling because I was lustening to the shouts of support for Tiger and I would have liked to have been in that group,” Cabrera Bello said.

Meanwhile, Argentina’s Emiliano Grillo was unable to overcome his problems and ended 8 over par, tied for last place in the rankings.

The 2019 Masters will go down in history as the year of Tiger’s comeback, after finding himself in 1,199th place in the world rankings just 16 months ago, whereas now he’s sitting pretty at the peak of world golf.

Strangely enough, on Sunday Tiger also became the golfer who has won the most money at Augusta, ahead of his countryman Phil Mickelson, taking home a little more than $2 million in prize money this year to add to the almost $7.5 million he had pocketed in his 22 previous outings at the course.

Sahil, Murad, Satish in MercedesTrophy World Final

Sahil, Murad, Satish in MercedesTrophy World Final

Pune, April 5: Golfers Sahil Jain of Delhi NCR, Murad Talib of Mumbai and Satish Cheeti of Hyderabad booked their spots to represent the country in the World Finals of the MercedesTrophy 2019, scheduled to be held in Stuttgart, Germany, in October.

Playing at the National Finals of the 19th India edition of the tournament at Pune’s Oxford Golf Resort, Sahil in handicap CAT A (3-10) won with a score of 39 points in his category. Murad carded a score of 37 points in CAT B (11-17) to book the second Stuttgart spot while Satish playing in CAT C (18-24) scored 36 points to complete the troika of India qualifiers.

Sahil made the trip to Pune after becoming one of four National Final qualifiers from the Noida leg of the tournament, which was played at the Jaypee Greens Golf Course earlier this year. Murad qualified from Mumbai’s The Bombay Presidency Golf Club while Satish made it from the Hyderabad Golf Association in Hyderabad.

A total of 41 qualifiers and two wild card entries from across 11 cities participated in the National Finals of the largest amateur golf tournament in India.

The runners up trophies for each category were won by Shashidhar Koukutla Reddy (CAT A) from Hyderabad with a total score of 36 points, Umesh NV Bhat (CAT B) from Bengaluru with a score of 32 and Puja Batra (CAT C) from Delhi NCR with a score of 32 points.

The India tournament that began and concluded in Pune this year travelled through Bengaluru, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Delhi, Gurugram, Chandigarh, Jaipur and Lucknow respectively.

The MercedesTrophy is a global event organized by automobile giant Mercedes-Benz to allow their customers in particular, to participate and enjoy the sport of golf by combining class, entertainment and glamour with a desire for excellence.

This year’s global edition of the MercedesTrophy has seen participation from around 60,000 golfers from across 60 countries battling it out for the top prize, making it one of the world’s largest sporting events.

MercedesTrophy grand finale in Pune on Friday

MercedesTrophy grand finale in Pune on Friday

Pune, April 4: The MercedesTrophy grand finale, after 27-day of intense golf activities spread across 11 cities, will be held at Oxford Golf’ Country Club, here on Friday.

The National Finals will throw up three national winners from among the 41 winners of the 11 regional legs. They would get the opportunity to compete at the MercedesTrophy World Finals in Stuttgart, Germany, in October 2019.

The National Final will be 18-hole modified Stableford competition against 3/4th handicap in three different handicap categories.

The 25-year-old event, organised in 60 countries, is one of the world’s most prestigious amateur golf tournaments.

The qualifiers that began in Pune in January, travelled to 11 locations in India before its conclusion in Lucknow in March.

Golf: Rashid, Chikkarangappa finish best Indians

Golf: Rashid, Chikkarangappa finish best Indians

Gurugram, March 31: Rashid Khan and Chikkarangappa S. finished as the best Indians at the Indian Open here on Sunday.

Khan and Chikka had an identical tournament tally of four-under-284 and thus took a share of 10th place at the DLF Golf and Country Club on Sunday.

Scotsman Stephen Gallacher triumphed at the $1.75 million event after he shot a final round of one-under-71 to finish with a nine-under-279 total.

Japan’s Masahiro Kawamura (73) was runner-up at eight-under-280.

Rashid Khan (72-70-72-70) carded a two-under-70 to gain 11 places from his overnight tied 21st. He made five birdies in exchange for three bogeys on Sunday.

As a result of his top-10 at Gurugram, Rashid also maintained his position at the top of the TATA Steel PGTI Order of Merit. His prize money earnings of Rs 9,89,953 from the Indian Open took his season’s earnings to Rs 18,95,103.

Chikkarangappa (74-70-66-74), who was the best-placed Indian in tied sixth after round three, carded a two-over-74 on the last day to slip four places. Chikka’s eventful round featured three birdies, a bogey and two double-bogeys.

“I managed to keep a Top-10 despite those two bad holes on fifth and 10th, but I am happy with the way my game is going and I hope to crack through for my maiden win soon,” he said.

Chikka’s Indian Open prize money earnings of Rs 9,89,953 helped him climb from fifth to second position in the TATA Steel PGTI Order of Merit as his season’s earnings moved to Rs 16,36,553.

Among the other Indians, Shubhankar Sharma shot a 75 and ended even-par-288 to be tied 27th. Gaganjeet Bhullar secured tied 39th at three-over-291, S.S.P. Chawrasia was tied 45th at four-over-292, Ajeetesh Sandhu was a further stroke back in tied 54th, while both Rahil Gangjee and Gaurav Pratap Singh were tied 69th at 13-over-301.

Indian Open golf: Rashid, Shubhankar keep Indian hopes alive

Indian Open golf: Rashid, Shubhankar keep Indian hopes alive

Gurugram, March 29: Rashid Khan and Shubhankar Sharma shot contrasting second rounds of two-under-70 and one-over-73, respectively, but both managed to keep Indian hopes alive at the halfway stage of the Indian Open at the DLF Golf & Country Club here on Friday.

Two-time Asian Tour winner Khan and two-time European Tour winner Sharma were the best-placed Indians at the end of round two at tied 19th with a tally of two-under-142. The duo trailed the leader Julian Suri of the US by eight shots at the $1.75 million event.

PGTI member N. Thangaraja (71-70) of Sri Lanka returned a two-under-70 to end the day in tied 12th place at three-under-141. He gained 16 places from round one.

The cut was declared at two-over-146. Seventy professionals made the cut. Out of a total of 37 Indians, eight made the cut.

Khan (72-70) made significant gains in round two as he climbed 27 spots from his overnight tied 46th position after mixing four birdies with two bogeys for a 70.

Khan, a winner of two events on the PGTI tour in the last four months, reaped the reward of getting some good practice at the Kalhaar Blues & Greens course in Ahmedabad last week that prepared him well for the daunting challenge at the DLF course.

Sharma (69-73) slipped 12 spots on Friday after a sedate 73 that saw him make two birdies and three bogeys. After a consistent first round, Sharma, the 2018 European Tour Rookie of the Year, made a flying start in round two with a birdie on the first.

However, his putting let him down thereafter as he dropped bogeys on the fourth and eighth and found it hard to recover subsequently.

S. Chikkarangappa (70) and Rahil Gangjee (74) were the next best Indians in tied 41st at even-par-144. Ajeetesh Sandhu (71) was a further shot back in tied 53rd.

The trio of Gaganjeet Bhullar (74), Gaurav Pratap Singh (73) and two-time Indian Open champion S.S.P. Chawrasia (72) also made it to the weekend as they totalled two-over-146 to be placed tied 61st.

The prominent Indian names that missed the cut were 2015 champion Anirban Lahiri (four-over-148), Shiv Kapur (four-over-148), Khalin Joshi (five-over-149) and Jyoti Randhawa (six-over-150).

Om Prakash Chouhan (four-over-148) made a hole-in-one on the fifth and was looking good to make his place in the top 20 but had a disastrous closing 18th where he made a quadruple-bogey (9) after finding the hazard thrice. He thus missed the cut by two shots.

Lahiri eyes revival of fortunes at Indian Open

Lahiri eyes revival of fortunes at Indian Open

Gurugram, March 27: PGA Tour regular Anirban Lahiri returned home after a year to participate in, what he considers, the ‘Fifth Major — the Indian Open golf tournament — for all Indian golfers.

The 31-year-old had won the 2015 Indian Open and went on to emerge as Asian Tour Order of Merit champion the same year. Lahiri has an enviable track record at the National Open having posted six top-5s in his last nine appearances.

However, Lahiri, currently 185 in the world rankings, did not have the best of seasons on the PGA Tour last year. The two-time International team member of the Presidents Cup is looking for a revival of fortune with an inspiring performance at the world-class DLF Golf & Country Club.

“It’s always wonderful to be back home. Every time I come back, I have happy memories, having played well in this tournament for a number of years. I always look forward to playing my national Open as it is like a ‘Fifth Major’ for all of us Indian golfers,” Lahiri said.

“My game has been a bit inconsistent, but it is moving in the right direction. I’ve had a couple of bad weekends. I have singled out the problems that need to be fixed. I just need to pull it together and stay focused. It feels like I’m in that place where my game can just take off,” he said.

European Tour regular Shubhankar Sharma, India’s highest ranked golfer at 122, will be eager to go one better than his previous performance at the Open when he narrowly missed out on a win after taking the joint-lead into the final round. But struggled to a 75 to end up in tied-seventh.

Incidentally, 22-year-old Sharma had also set the course record last year with his second round of eight-under-64. He has been striving to get his game back on track in recent months as his last top-10 on the international stage came as far back as November 2018.

Sharma, the youngest Indian to play all four major championships in a single season in 2018, has the opportunity to turn it around in familiar conditions. “This was my home course for the longest time and it feels great to be back on familiar grounds,” he said.

“Obviously, last year a lot of things were happening. I flew in straight from Mexico and then right after I flew to The Masters. I had to deal with jetlag and amidst all that I was still able to shoot the course record and do pretty well. I am a lot more relaxed this time around and more focused. This year will be different,” Sharma said.

DSPORT to broadcast Hero Indian Open 2019

DSPORT to broadcast Hero Indian Open 2019

New Delhi, March 26: Discovery Communications’ sports channel DSPORT will broadcast the Hero Indian Open 2019, the biggest National Open golf championship in India, slated to be held from March 28-31 at DLF Golf and Country Club, Gurugram.

The tournament is co-sanctioned by both the Asian Tour and the prestigious European Tour, besides the Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI).

The event will see participation from the top Indian professional golfers like Shubhankar Sharma and former champion Anirban Lahiri, who will lead the field for India.

Other Indian golfers expected to be seen in action are former champion S.S.P. Chawrasia, besides Shiv Kapur, Ajeetesh Sandhu, Viraj Madappa and Khalin Joshi.

Top international golfers who can be seen in action at the annual flagship event include last year’s runner-up Andrew Johnston, Maybank Championship 2019 winner Australian Golfer Scott Hend and four-time European Tour winner Bernd Wiesberger.

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