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Digvijay wins

Special Correspondent

GURGAON: In the end, Digvijay Singh made it without being remotely threatened. A final round of five-under 67 kept him out of reach of nearest contender Shiv Kapur and set up a winning tally of 18-under 270 in the Rs. 25-lakh Airtel Masters golf tournament at the Classic Golf Resort here on Friday.

Digvijay's first title of the season was worth Rs. 4.05 lakh, his single biggest cheque on the Indian Tour. Kapur finished six strokes behind Digvijay to take the runner-up spot for the fifth time this season. Kapur's effort was worth Rs. 2.8 lakh. Harinder Gupta, finished two strokes behind at 278 to ensure Rs. 1,57,500.

Joint-champion in the Rs. 50-lakh PSPB Open a fortnight back at the Delhi Golf Club course, the DLF Golf and Country Club's Digvijay strung together four rounds of fabulous play for such a stupendous result.

Digvijay fired six birdies and but bogeyed the par-3 11th hole, just as he had done in the last three rounds. His longest birdie of the day came on the seventh hole where he sank his putt from 15 feet. He did miss short birdie-putts on the third and the fourth holes but they did not matter.

Asian Games gold medallist and rookie pro Kapur was disappointed with his effort today.

If it was an anti-climax, overnight joint-second Kapur and Vishal Singh contributed to it early in the day.

After Digvijay had opened the final round with a birdie to increase his lead to five strokes, Kapur and Vishal bogeyed the second to make things even more comfortable for the leader. In the absence of any real pressure, Digvijay went on to birdie the sixth and seventh holes to take the turn with a 33. On the inward nine, Digvijay sank three birdies in succession to move deep into the safety zone.

In the meantime, Kapur, after a disappointing front-nine 37, had a birdie-bogey sequence on the first two holes of the back-nine. He produced an `eagle' on the 14th hole, followed by birdies on the 15th and 16th to finish a distant second.

During the day, there was a time when Sandeep Syal raised visions of running Digvijay close but the suspense died soon. Syal, who began the day at five under, fired five birdies on the front-nine to move to 10-under. But disaster struck Syal on the par-3 11th hole. He twice went out of bounds and needed eight shots to move on. After having dropped five shots on one hole, Syal birdied thrice and bogeyed once on the remaining holes for a 70 that gave him the joint-eighth spot with Ashok Kumar.

Jeev Milkha Singh's 69 saw him share the 10th spot while Mukesh Kumar's 67 saw the Tour leader finish joint-15th.

The scores:

Digvijay Singh (68, 69, 66, 67) 270; Shiv Kapur (71, 70, 70, 66) 276; Harinder Gupta (70, 70, 72, 66) 278; Dinesh Kumar (74, 70, 69, 67), Gaurav Ghei (66, 72, 73, 69), Vijay Kumar (70, 72, 68, 70), Vishal Singh (71, 67, 69, 73) 280; Ashok Kumar (74, 70, 71, 66), Sandeep Syal (71, 71, 69, 70) 281; Pappan (74, 71, 69, 68), Ali Sher (71, 74, 69, 68), Jeev Milkha Singh (73, 73, 67, 69), Arjun Singh (75, 70, 68, 69), Ranjit Singh (72, 73, 68, 69) 282; Amardip Sinh (71, 76, 69, 67), Mukesh Kumar (73, 72, 71, 67), Vikrant Chopra (A) (72, 70, 70, 71) 283; S. S. P. Chaurasia (74, 73, 69, 68), Amritinder Singh (73, 75, 67, 69), Yusuf Ali (72, 71, 72, 69), Gaganjit Bhullar (A) (69, 77, 68, 70), Rahul Ganapathy (70, 70, 71, 73), Sanjay Kumar (73, 69, 67, 75) 284; Praduman Singh (73, 75, 69, 69), Jaiveer Virk (73, 71, 72, 70), A. S. Lehal (74, 72, 68, 72), C. Muniyappa (77, 67, 68, 74) 286; Rafick Ali (71, 76, 66, 74), Vinod Kumar (71, 70, 72, 74) 287; Amit Dube (72, 75, 73, 68), Shamim Khan (71, 71, 76, 70), R. Srinivas (75, 71, 71, 71), Ajay Gupta (69, 73, 75, 71), Rohit Chaudhary (74, 71, 70, 73), Ajeetesh Sandhu (A) (73, 68, 71, 76) and S. Madaiah (72, 69, 71, 76) 288.

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