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Ashok gallops to easy win

other Updated: Apr 04, 2009 22:57 IST
Robin Bose
Robin Bose
Hindustan Times
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The setting was in sync with veteran US golfer Ken Venturi's words, "Victory is everything. You can spend the money but you can never spend the memories."

The Rs 5,20,000 winner's cheque presented to Ashok Kumar will be gone in a while but the memories of the SRF Matchplay Championship will linger forever.

More than the eagerness to end a two-year title drought, the lack of success at the Delhi Golf Club, which is Mecca to him, had taken precedence for some time now.

History not on his side (Ashok had crashed out in the third round last year), reliance was on the sole ally, form. Not only did it stand firm by the 25-year-old en route to the 5&4 result, help was at hand from an unexpected source - Rahul Ganapathy.

Ashok carried forth an unchanged strategy of playing it safe with pars and left the attacking to Ganapathy. But offence proved to be a distant dream as woeful hitting and putting led to the third seed losing the plot in the first half of the final, played over 36 holes.

Taken aback by the overwhelming 9 up scoreline after 18, Ashok couldn't help remark, "He seemed to have lost control over his driving, he was either hitting it too long or too short."

The gut feeling was "he had given it away in the morning", but Ganapathy tried to draw from the recent past. Reliving moments from the second round encounter against Amandeep Johl, where he pulled back from the brink to win on the 17th after being I Down after the 15th, the Mysore-based player took to the putting greens during the break.

The move seemed to work and coupled with an alteration in the club selection, Ganapathy showed himself in new light.

The newfound aggression even led him to reduce the lead by four shots, but the morning's deeds proved to be too wide a gulf to bridge.

As the PGTI's most decorated player with six titles, Ashok has "nothing more to prove here", and armed with a country spot, the focus is set to shift to the Asian Tour.

If the final failed to rise to expected standards, Anura Rohana and Vivek Bhandari made up for it with a tooth-and-nail contest for the third-fourth spot. All Square after regulation time, Bhandari went on to clinch it on the 20th.

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