Rafiq Ali takes honours

CHENNAI, SEPT. 2. Rafiq Ali was as good as his word. After a second round 66 in the Ford-MGC Open golf championship at the Guindy course on Thursday, the young man from Calcutta had sounded confident, almost cocky, about his chances of winning the top prize.

``I will definitely win this tournament,'' Rafiq had said. At that time it certainly seemed vain, possibly an ill- advised comment made a little too soon.

But success in sport is very often about self- confidence and belief in yourself, and Rafiq's virtues were rewarded on Saturday as he edged his older brother Feroz Ali and Harmeet Kahlon from Chandigarh in a dramatic finish.

Rafiq had a last round par 70 while Harmeet shot a one under 69 and Feroz a four over 74.

Feroz it was who teed off as the leader at the start of the fourth round but it seemed Harmeet's tournament to win when the methodical gentleman pro led by a stroke with two holes to play.

But after a bogey on the 17th where he missed a 10 feet putt, Harmeet lived through a nightmare on the 18th where he failed to make the fairway with either of his first two shots.

``I went from rough to rough to bunker and that sealed my fate,'' said Harmeet, the India Cements-sponsored golfer who bogeyed the 18th too.

Rafiq, for his part, confidently made par on the last two holes even as Feroz and Harmeet needed nine strokes to his seven to complete those two holes.

Rafiq finished with a four-day aggregate of 276, four under par. Harmeet ended up with 277 and Feroze was third with 278.

``I said I will win and I did. There was no pressure on me today and I was confident all through,'' said Rafiq who had two birdies and two bogeys today.

City golfer C.V. Yudvir won the amateur event with an aggregate of 290. Jaideep Patwardhan from Pune was second with 294.

lLeading pro scores: Rafiq Ali 70, 66, 70, 70-276; Harmeet Kahlon 65, 7271, 69-277; Feroz Ali 64, 69, 71, 74-278; Basad Ali 71, 67, 74, 72-284; Vishal Singh 67, 70, 74, 73-284; S.S.P. Chaurasia 70, 70, 72, 74-286; 68, 67, 75, 76-286; Digvijay Singh 68, 75, 72, 72- 287.

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