SPORT

Vijay eagles play-off hole to win Skins

Vijay Singh of Fiji who won the Bilt Skins golf tournament at DLF Golf Course at Gurgaon on Sunday.

Vijay Singh of Fiji who won the Bilt Skins golf tournament at DLF Golf Course at Gurgaon on Sunday.  

GURGAON NOV. 10. After a sedate front-nine, Fiji's World No. 7 Vijay Singh burned the final three holes and won the Bilt Skins Golf tournament at the Arnold Palmer-Signature DLF Golf and Country Club here on Sunday.

Vijay Singh had empty pockets when he teed at the par-3 16th. The Fijian showed his true class just when it mattered and finished with the heftiest pocket.

Vijay won the 16th and 17th — fairways of both the holes are cut by a huge pond. He birdied both the holes, and after being tied with Jyoti Randhawa on the 18th Vijay nailed an eagle in the play-off final hole for the gross income to $21,500.

On his first visit to India in two decades, Vijay Singh quelled his challengers, Randhawa, Harmeet Kahlon and Kapil Dev, with his impressive driving. While others hesitated to use drivers on the par-fours, Vijay Singh was always experimental.

The combination he used on the par-5 14th is seldom tried by any of the current Indian lot. After the driver on the tee, Vijay Singh left his challengers, and the ever-swelling crowd, dazzled.

Vijay used three-wood for his second shot and reached the green. An eagle would have been ideal but the uphill putt did not carry enough. A consistent Kahlon birdied brilliantly and the money at stoke got carried on to the next hole.

After denying Vijay Singh the 14th hole, Kahlon struck luck for himself. He won the 15th hole with a birdie to pocket the accumulated $8,500.

By then, Randhawa had won $13,500, including the entire booty of $10,500 slated for the front-nine. Kapil Dev holed a birdie on the 10th to win his share of money. He later donated his earnings of $1,500 to charity. Kapil Dev's winnings will be equally shared by Golf Foundation and Literacy India.

With $10,000 at stake at the final hole, Vijay kept to the fairway while the other three dropped into the bunkers. It was an excellent effort from Randhawa to set up a birdie and force a play-off.

Vijay repeated the same shot while others strayed out of the fairway as the winter sun set engulfing the course into near-darkness. Vijay left nothing to chance and eagled from about four feet to win it outright.

''The pin positions on the front nine were a bit `spicy', but I am happy to have played better on a new course for me,'' Vijay said after the day's play.

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