Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Anura Rohana continued his dream run by getting past Gaurav Ghei 1-up and top seed Mukesh Kumar 2-up for memorable back-to-back victories on his way to the semifinals of the SRF all-India professional golf match-play championship at the Delhi Golf Club course here on Thursday.

On a day when Vivek Bhandari accounted for second seed Shamim Khan 2 &1 in the quarterfinals, Ashok Kumar and Rahul Ganapathy emerged as the expected semifinalists. Rohana, the lone Sri Lankan in the last-four stage, reproduced the form that saw him eliminate defending champion Arjun Singh on Wednesday. Silver-medallist to Shiv Kapur in the 2002 Asian Games, Rohana took the lead over Mukesh with a birdie on the opening hole and doubled the advantage by winning the fourth with a par. Mukesh struggled with his putting and twice three-putted from under 12 feet.

Mukesh reduced the lead with a par on the ninth. After the turn, both halved holes till Rohana birdied the final hole.

Tight match

Earlier, Rohana ousted Ghei in a match that produced just three decisive holes. Rohana won the second hole with a birdie before Ghei drew level with a par on the seventh. The Lankan, who practises putting for an hour before the start of the round every day, regained the lead with a par on the 12th and this lead went on to make the difference as the players halved the rest of the holes. Rohana now plays Ashok Kumar who scored a 2-up victory over Vikrant Chopra.

In the bottom half of the draw, Bhandari rallied from a one-hole deficit after 10 holes to stop Shamim. Bhandari, who started with a 20-foot eagle and won the fourth with a par, sank some long putts through the day. Shamim drew level by winning the seventh and eighth holes with par and snatched the lead on the 10th.

On the back nine, Bhandari played flawlessly. He caught up with Shamim with a birdie on the 14th hole, parred the 16th after hitting the rough on the right, entering the bunker and finally holding a three-foot up-and-down putt. Shamim could not find par after hitting into the bushes.

Bhandari closed the contest on the 17th with a15-foot birdie-putt.

The results: Quarterfinals: Anura Rohana bt Mukesh Kumar 2-up; Ashok Kumar bt Vikrant Chopra 2-up; Vivek Bhandari bt Shamim Khan 2 & 1; Rahul Ganapathy bt Vijay Kumar 5 & 3. Pre-quarterfinals: Mukesh bt Pappan 4 & 3; Rohana bt Gaurav Ghei 1-up; Chopra bt Naman Dawar 2-up; Ashok bt Shankar Das 8 & 7; Shamim bt Ranjit Singh 2 & 1; Bhandari bt Gurbaaz Mann 4 & 2; Ganapathy bt Raju Ali 2 & 1; Vijay bt Kunal Bhasin 3 & 2.

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