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Amardip Reigns Supreme at ONGC Masters 2017

Amardip Sinh Malik ended a frustrating three-year title drought on the Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) after securing a nail-biting one-stroke victory over Kapil Kumar at the Rs 50 lakhs ONGC Masters 2017 which returned on PGTI schedule after a gap of eight years.

Amardip shot a four over 76 to finish with a winning tally of 12 under 276. Delhi’s Kapil Kumar failed to mount a serious challenge as he ended his campaign with a level par 72 to grab sole second position at 11 under 277.

Amardip Singh Malik

R Murthy (69) and Om Prakash Chouhan (71) finished tied third at 10 under 278 while ONGC’s Vikrant Chopra fired a five under 67 to finish fifth at nine under 279.

Amardip admitted memories of his 2014 win inspired him towards victory at the Noida Golf Club on Saturday. He blew a four-shot lead in the final round of the 2014 PGTI Noida Masters, only to win in a playoff against Md Zamal Hossain of Bangladesh.

This was his Masters to lose. After twin rounds of 66 and a penultimate round of 68, Amardip stood on the 2nd tee with a five shot lead buoyed by a birdie on the opening hole. But golf can be a cruel sport. A five shot lead can turn into a deficit in no time – Jordan Spieth’s 2016 Masters meltdown comes to mind.

After several near misses, this was Amardip’s chance to make amends.

He took safety first approach in stark contrast to the attacking approach in the previous rounds. The move nearly backfired as he dropped a double bogey on the second followed by bogeys on sixth, 12th and 18th. “I played safe and lost all the momentum after the birdie on the opening hole which gave me a five shot cushion but I’m happy that it all ended well for me,”said a relieved Amardip, who took home a prize purse of Rs7,50,000 for his victory.

The win propelled the Noida golfer to sixth place on the Rolex Rankings for 2017 with earnings of Rs. 14,80,203.

“The Noida Golf Course is my home course and I love coming back here. I have a terrific record here. Winning here is always special. I’m thankful to the club as they’ve always supported me,” added Amardip.

Nalini Sharma, Chairperson, Tournament Committee, Noida Golf Course, was delighted with ONGC Masters returning to Noida Golf Course: “On behalf of the host venue, I would like to thank PGTI and ONGC for a fantastic tournament. This was the third PGTI event this year and our staff did a fantastic job in getting the golf course ready as we had three back-to-back events. We are always there to support PGTI's efforts to promote professional golf in India.”

After M Dharma had lorded over the greens with an opening round of nine-under 63, Amardip took centre stage with consecutive rounds of 66 to move into the joint halfway lead with Dharma. Amardip produced a sublime 68 in the penultimate round to open up a five stroke lead going into the final day.

Kapil Kumar missed a golden opportunity as he interspersed three birdies with equal number of bogeys to finish one stroke behind Amardip while Dharma slid to tied sixth after shooting a final round of three over 75.

Kapil Kumar

ONGC’s Vikrant Chopra, who finished fourth in PGTI Players Championship at NGC last month and tied third at Jaipur Open 2017, saved his best for the last day. He scorched the course with five birdies on the front nine. However, he missed several birdie opportunities on the back nine as he settled for sole fifth in overall standings.

“There was a time when I would stay in contention for the first three days and then falter towards the end, but all that has changed now and I’ve become mentally stronger and more consistent. I have tasted success in team events - winning the LP Cup twice with Navratna Ahmedabad. It was nice to get another top-five finish – my third in as many weeks. Hopefully, the win is just around the corner,” said Chopra.

Coming from a family with Indian Army background, discipline has played a big role in Amardip’s development as a golfer. He was introduced to the game at the age of 15 by his father Col Jagmohan Sinh Malik in US Club, Mumbai. After winning the All India Junior title in 2002, Amardip played in almost every amateur tournament in India and swept to four victories including the Sri Lankan Amateur title before taking the plunge as a professional golfer in 2005.

It was baptism by fire as he got disqualified in his first professional event for rule infringement. However, the experience that he gained playing alongside the greats on the pro tour helped him hone his skills and after spending first half of the 2014 season insisting he was close to putting it together, Amardip broke through with his maiden professional title at the PGTI Players Championship at Noida Golf Course in September 2014.

Amardip registered four top-10s on the PGTI in 2015 included a joint runner-up finish at the 14th TATA Open and a tied seventh place finish at Bashundhara Bangladesh Open to finish 15th in the Rolex rankings. Amardip had a better 2016 season with five top-10 results on the PGTI including a tied second finish at the TAKE Solutions Classic and a fourth place at the Kolkata Classic.

Amardip, who holds a BCom degree, works hard on his game with his coach Romit Bose. Never satisfied with the status quo, he isn't afraid to make major alterations to improve on his winning formula. His daily training schedule includes physical workout, and practice at the golf course. Strict and balanced diet, and regular training stints with physio Sandeep Parihar has also played a vital role in his development as a golfer.

For Amardip, ‘Work hard and party harder’ is his mantra and he likes to follow EPL and all major football leagues and hang out with friends and family. With new found confidence, he is well on his way to fulfil his ambition of winning on the bigger Tours overseas, even as he continues to sharpen his skills on the PGTI.

ONGC Masters 2017 Brief Scores:

276 - AMARDIP SINH MALIK (66-66-68-76)

277 - KAPIL KUMAR (68-67-70-72)

278 - R MURTHY (65-70-74-69), OM PRAKASH CHOUHAN (68-69-70-71)

279 - VIKRANT CHOPRA (70-69-73-67)

280 - HARENDRA GUPTA (69 -71-71-69), M DHARMA(63 -69 -73-75)

281 - VEER AHLAWAT (75 -69-71-66), RAHUL BAJAJ (69 -73-69-70)

282 - K PRABAGARAN (66 -72-73-71),ABHIJIT SINGH CHADHA (73-72-65-72), MANU GANDAS (71-66-72 -73), ASHOK KUMAR (72-67-68-75)

Amardip Up-Close

Home Course: Noida Golf Club

Turned Pro: 2005

Role Model: Sadguru Jaggi Vasudev

Dream Four-ball: Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Moe Norman and self

Most memorable moment on a golf course: Winning All India Junior title at KGA in 2002.

Best shot ever: Hole-in-one at RCGC during the second round of McLeod Russel Tour Championship 2016

Best round: Nine-under par at DDA Open, Qutab Golf Course

Favourite Actor: Bhumi Pednekar and Rajkummar Rao

Hollywood: Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence

Favourite Music: Bollywood songs

Favourite golf course: India – Karnataka Golf Association Course, Bangalore

Abroad – Bayonet, California, USA

Toughest golf course: Delhi Golf Club.

Cuisine: Thai and Indian

Golf bag

Driver: TaylorMade

Irons: TaylorMade

Woods: Callaway

Wedges: Titleist

Putter: Scotty Cameron

Words - Tilak Malaviya

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