The 37th Punjab Open Golf Championship moves into the final phase. At the end of 36 holes, the highly exalted and esteemed golf professional of Pakistan, Shabbir Iqbal is again in a position to intimidate and subdue his fellow competitors in this title bearing championship and somehow at the receiving end are champions like Matloob Ahmed, M.Munir, Waheed Baloch and Anser Mehmood.
As the championship stands right now on the verge of conclusion, Shabbir Iqbal (Islamabad) is in the lead with two rounds of 66 and 71 and an aggregate total of gross 137, seven under par. An energizing aspect, however, is that his nearest challengers like Matloob Ahmed (Garrison) and Hamza Amin(Islamabad) have installed themselves just a stroke behind him and in the final round can curb Shabbir in his rigorous advance to retaining the Punjab title once again. Exciting is the fact that Matloob, the experienced one and Hamza Amin, the activated young one are bracketed at a two rounds score of gross 138, six under par. The difference is barely one stroke and when they tee off on Sunday, the stroke play event might get converted into match play as these three play each stroke to perfection on a golf course that facilitates excellence in shot making .
In the second round yesterday, Shabbir Iqbal remained constant, steady and relied on his short game capabilities. He birdied four holes, the 5th, 10th, 12th and 15th but also neutralized this advantage by dropping strokes on holes 3, 4 and 17. As against him his competitor Matloob Ahmed fashioned another round of 69 and added to his first round similar score of 69. He managed to edge closer to Shabbir and thereby remained within hand shaking distance in the final 18 holes. Matloob’s second round 69 was compiled through birdies on holes 8, 12, 13 and 18, pars on thirteen holes and along the way he was also hit by a single bogey. With this kind of effort, he has eased the situation for himself, moving into the final phase of the contest. The other resolute one in the second round was Hamza Amin of Islamabad. He was unyielding to any kind of hiccups and maintained a control over his hitting which fetched and rewarded him with six birdies on holes 1, 2, and then three in a row on holes 4, 5, and 6 and another one on hole 9. A stroke loss did occur on hole 11, but otherwise it was remarkable play.
A pleasant surprise came from an upcoming golf professional of Defence Raya, Muhammed Alam. After a long time a new name is seen on the golf horizon. Going into the final round, M. Alam looks formidable with a two rounds aggregate score of 139, five under par and he is two strokes behind the leader, Shabbir Iqbal. In the second round on Saturday, the dominant facet of his effort was that he scored four birdies in succession on holes 14, 15, 16 and 17 and these were the result of flawless shots and copybook putting on the challenging greens. And Helder Fontinha, the Golf Course Superintendent of Defence Raya from Portugal who was watching M. Alam was amazed “This guy is impressive and can astound on the final day” said Helder. “I look forward to a determined effort from him on Sunday“. In this regard, it would be appropriate to say that Helden has himself been instrumental in making Defence Raya Golf Course, a place to envy.
Other notable ones in line are:
- M.Ashfaq (Karachi Airmen Golf Club ) at a score of 140,
- Followed by M.Munir (Islamabad)143,
- Anser Mehmood 144,
- Shafiq Masih (Gymkhana) 144,
- Talib Hussain (Islamabad) 145,
- The cut was applied yesterday and while 50 professionals stand eliminated, 41 golf professionals will compete on Sunday.
In the Amateurs event:
- Taimur Khan of Peshawar leads with an 18 holes score of gross 72.
- Ahmed Zafar Hayat carded a gross 74 and lies second and behind him are…
- Ashiq Hussain (Multan) at 75 and at gross 76 are five contenders: Muhammed Saqib (Garrison), Waleed Zubair (Gymkhana), Khawaja Ahsan (Gymkhana), Raja Israr (Garden City) and Ghazanfar Mehmood also of Garden City.
On Sunday (25th May, 2018) is the final day of the 37th Punjab Open Golf Championship and at the conclusion of the championship, the prize distribution will be held at 4.P.M.
For updates regularly visit: Allsportspk