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Digvijay wins

Sports Reporter

NEW DELHI: Digvijay Singh chanced on a judgement error by Ashok Kumar on the crucial 16th hole to win the Rs. 10 lakh DDA Open golf tournament by one stroke at the par-70 Qutab Golf Club course here on Friday.

Both Digvijay and Ashok posted cards of two-under 68 on a hot and windy day as the overnight lead proved decisive. Digvijay finished the four rounds at 19-under 261 for the tournament to end his year-long title drought. Digvijay last won at the Airtel Masters in Gurgaon.

"Its an absolutely welcome break for me after a long time. I have been playing good, but consistency was eluding me," said Digvijay.

Difficult lie

On the par-5 16th hole, Digvijay had a difficult lie in the rough while Ashok was on the fairway. "The position was such that I thought I was already one shot down for that hole," Digvijay said.

On the contrary, Ashok made a mistake, as he later conceded, and pulled out his three-wood and landed into the bunker. Though Ashok parred the hole, Digvijay two-putted for a birdie to extend his lead to two strokes.

"It would have been difficult had Ashok also made a birdie on that hole. That was the turning point," said Digvijay, who is looking forward to playing five weeks on the Asian PGA Tour, starting with the Amby Valley Masters, a joint-sanctioned event, in May.

Digvijay, who is lying 21st on the Order of Merit, won Rs. 1,58,200 as the winner's prize. That should help him leapfrog at least 10 places.

Eventful day

Ashok had an eventful day, sinking four birdies but a double bogey on the par-3 14th and a bogey on the sixth hole robbed him of any chance of a comeback. Ashok had a fantastic opening day with a card of 62, but 68 on the second pushed him back. A strong round of 64, the best of the third day, saw him back in contention.

"My putting put me down today. If the double bogey was bad, missing easy birdie putts was worse," said Ashok, who settled for the Rs, 1,08,700 runner-up prize.

The scores: Digvijay Singh (64, 62, 67, 68) 261; Ashok Kumar (62, 68, 64, 68) 262; S. Madaiah (66, 65, 68, 66) and C. Muniyappa (65, 67, 66, 67) 265; Dinesh Kumar (67, 64, 68, 67) 266; Sankar Das (71, 65, 65, 66) and Mukesh Kumar (64, 64, 71, 68) 267; Vivek Bhandari (67, 67, 66, 68) 268; Rahul Ganapathy (67, 69, 67, 67) and Vijay Kumar (65, 68, 69, 68) 270; Feroz Ali (71, 66, 68, 67) 272; Indrajit Bhalotia (70, 68, 69, 67), Vikrant Chopra (67, 67, 69, 71) and Mohammad Salim (66, 68, 67, 73) 274.

Amateurs: Manav Jaini (73, 69, 71, 72) 285, Tarun Ghogale (72, 72, 68, 74) 286.

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