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Stephen Gallacher wins Hero Indian Open 2019

By Deepak Arora

GURGAON, March 31: Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher staged a remarkable comeback by firing three birdies in his closing four holes to close with a one-under-par 71 and win the Hero Indian Open 2019.

It was the Scotsman’s first victory in Asia and his winning total of nine-under-par 279 was just enough to give him a one-shot triumph over Japan’s Masahiro Kawamura at the S$1.75 million event which was held at the DLF Golf and Country Club.

Starting the round with a three-shot deficit, the 44-year-old Gallacher stayed patient to overcome a roller-coaster round where he recovered from a horrible quadruple-bogey on hole seven to take home a winner’s prize purse of US $ 291,660.

Kawamura had the opportunity to force a play-off with Gallacher at the last but could not take it into extra time as he could only make par. The Japanese settled for second place on his own following a 73.

Stephen Gallacher said "Today the winds was swirling and the course was playing really tough. I was three behind the lead at the start of the day and got off to quite a solid start and then I hit a quadruple-bogey on hole seven. I was pretty calm at that point of time, I stood on the eighth tee and saw I was only five shots behind. I told myself to stick to the game and you never know what can happen. Especially with how hard it was playing and I came back three-under in the last four holes."

The Scotman said "I am 45 this year so I am really proud of what I did out here today. It changes my schedule and I can play a bit less and it was great to win with my son on the bag. He has caddied for me 20 events already, and to win with him there and on Mother's Day as well makes it even more special. It has been a great day."

Local prospects Rashid Khan (70) and S. Chikkarangappa (74) finished as the highest-placed Indians in tied-10th position at the event which was celebrating its 55th edition this week.

Finland’s Kalle Samooja aced the 12th hole from 127 metres with his pitching wedge, marking the first time in the history of the Indian Open that three hole-in-ones were made in the same year.

It may be mentioned that Stephen Gallacher claimed his first title on Indian soil and fourth European Tour title this week at the event co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and the European Tour.

Gallacher fulfilled a lifelong dream by playing in The Ryder Cup in his home country of Scotland in 2014, forming part of the winning team for the European side.

With his son, Jack, on his his bag this week, the Scotsman hit nine fairways and 13 greens and totalled 29 putts.

It may be mentioned that Masahiro Kawamura finished runner-up on the Japan circuit three times last year.

Kawamura claimed his first Asian Tour victory at the Asia-Pacific Panasonic Open in 2013 where he overcame a two-shot deficit to defeat Y.E. Yang.

The 25-year-old Kawamura finished tied-second at the Gateway to The Open Mizuno Open last May to earn his spot at the 147th Open.

With his second-place finish, Kawamura moved up three spots to take third place on the current Habitat for Humanity Standings.

Curran grabs hat-trick, Delhi lose 7 wickets for 8 runs as KXIP script heist

MOHALI, April 1: Skipper R Ashwin led from the front as Sam Curran wreaked havoc taking 4 for 11, including a hat-trick, as a gritty Kings XI Punjab showed stomach to fight and fashioned a 14-run win over Delhi Capitals.

With four overs to go, DC were holding all the aces, needing just 30 off 24 balls with seven wickets in hand before exploding in spectacular fashion. The carnage for Delhi started in the 17th over by Shami.

Shami’s over defined the match as he first bowled the dangerous Rishabh Pant for 39 and then Ashwin’s direct throw caught Chris Morris short of crease with the batsman trying to finish a suicidal single of the next ball. Delhi were reduced to 144 for 5. In the very next over, Sam Curran provided twin blows removing Colin Ingram for 38, caught at long off, and then having Harshal Patel edge one to Rahul for duck on the last ball. Curran returned to bowl the last over snaring Kagiso Rabada and Sandeep Lamichhane off first two balls to complete his hat-trick, finishing with figures of 4 for 11.

Defending a par score of 166, Punjab started well with Prithvi Shaw caught behind off the very first ball of R Ashwin’s over. DC skipper Shreyas Iyer (28) and Shikhar Dhawan (30) added 61 runs for the second wicket to keep Delhi’s chase on track.

Later, Rishabh Pant and Ingram stitched a fourth-wicket partnership of 62 runs off 41 balls before it all went horribly wrong for Delhi Capitals.

Earlier, between an audacious Dilscoop by Sarfaraz Khan and David Miller finding his arc, Kings XI Punjab almost made a mess before recovering to post 166/9.

That Punjab missed an injured Chris Gayle upfront will be an understatement, and it showed in the early overs. Both Chris Morris and Capital’s hero of the last match, Kagiso Rabada, managed to keep things by and large quiet. KL Rahul opened with his new partner Sam Curran and both managed decent cameos before getting out adjudged leg before.

Rahul managed a few crisp fours in his brief stay of 15, falling to an incoming ball from Morris, while Curran played a couple of lovely cover drives in scoring 20 off 10 balls before falling to Capitals’ young Nepal leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane.

Mayank Agarwal was run out by an alert Shikhar Dhawan at cover. With Agarwal backing up too far, Dhawan was quick to score a direct hit, catching the Kings XI batsman short of the crease at the non-strikers’ end. At that point, KXIP were struggling at 58/3 in the eighth over.

However, Sarfaraz Khan and David Miller added 62 runs for the fourth wicket in 40 balls, helping Punjab wriggle their way out of trouble. Capitals’ bowlers put up a superb effort and managed to dictate terms before the pair came together.

The trio of Rabada (2/32), Morris (3/30) and Lamichhane (2/27) were snapping at the batsmen’s heels, never letting their opponents really settle down.

Sarfaraz looked good in his stay and targeted pacer Avesh Khan, who had been picked in place of leg-spinner Amit Mishra. Lamichhane removed Sarfaraz for 39, foxing him with a wide delivery that he nicked to Rishabh Pant. Miller fell to his South African compatriot Morris, who beat the batsman with an off-cutter. Pant again didn’t make a mistake in pouching the skier. With Miller gone for 43 off 30 balls (4x4, 2x6), Capitals again gained the upper hand.

Kings XI again struggled in the final stages of the innings as only 29 runs came of the last four overs. Morris confounded skipper R Ashwin with a full toss that crashed into off-stump. Mandeep Singh, who has not been able to produce a substantial knock coming late in the innings, found it difficult to get going although coming in before the 15th over.

Suri, Shinkwin share lead on Day 3 at Hero Indian Open

By Deepak Arora

GURGAON, March 30: Japan’s Masahiro Kawamura showed his mental toughness by storming home with five birdies in his closing nine holes after carding an ugly triple-bogey on the eighth hole to stay close to third-round leaders American Julian Suri and England’s Callum Shinkwin at the Hero Indian Open on Saturday.

The Japanese will head into the final round two shots back of Suri and Shinkwin after he signed for a four-under-par 68 at the US$1.75 million event which is held at the DLF Golf and Country Club.

Suri and Shinkwin posted rounds of 71 and 68 respectively to take their place atop the leaderboard with their three-day total of 11-under-par 205.

Apart from that momentary blip on eight, Kawamura was consistent all day and thanks to his sharp-shooting driver where he only missed one fairway. The Japanese will be aiming to end a six-year title drought on the Asian Tour this week.

India’s S. Chikkarangappa kept the local hopes alive on moving day with seven birdies in his opening 13 holes. He seemed on course to break the course record set by compatriot Shubhankar Sharma last year until he dropped his first shot of the day on hole 17 after missing the green on his approach. Chikkarangappa would still finish with a commendable round of 66 to take tied-sixth place.

American Sihwan Kim and Australia’s Scott Hend lie a further shot back following their respective rounds of 67 and 74.

Julian Suri leads on Day 2 at Hero Indian Open

By Deepak Arora

GURGAON, March 29: Australia’s Scott Hend continued his fine form to sign for a bogey-free four-under-par 68 at the halfway stage of the Hero Indian Open on Friday.

The big-hitting Australian compiled a two-day total of seven-under-par 137 to trail American Julian Suri by three shots in tied-fourth place at the US$1.75 million event held at the DLF Golf and Country Club.

Suri, who held a share of the overnight lead, extended his advantage by riding on a hot putter to sign for a second straight 67.

He holds a two-shot edge over South Africa’s George Coetzee (66) and Sweden’s Robert Karlsson (68) in second place.

Hend, who clinched his 10th Asian Tour title in Malaysia last week, put up a solid display of golf from tee to green, only missing one green in regulation.

Thai veteran Prayad Marksaeng rediscovered some of his best form at the Gary Player-designed course after trading six birdies against three bogeys to sign for a 69 and lurk four shots off the pace in sixth place.

Australia’s Daniel Nisbet and India’s Om Prakash Chouhan produced the highlights of the day with their respective aces on the third and fifth holes.

Nisbet found the bottom of the cup with his four-iron from 240 yards while Chouhan made his hole-in-one with a six-iron from 190 yards and earned a a return business class trip to Munich for two nights including a trip to BMW Welt and a BMW Drive experience in Munich.

The halfway cut was set at two-over-par 146 with 70 players advancing to the final two rounds.

Stephen Gallacher, Julian Suri lead at Hero Indian Open

By Deepak Arora

GURGAON, March 28: Thailand’s Prom Meesawat opened his campaign with a four-under-par 68 to trail first-round clubhouse leaders Stephen Gallacher of Scotland and American Julian Suri by one shot at the Hero Indian Open on Thursday.

The 34-year-old Thai traded five birdies against one bogey to stay close behind the leading duo who posted matching 67s at the US$1.75 million event staged at the challenging DLF Golf and Country Club.

India’s Shubhankar Sharma, Australia’s Scott Hend, Thai duo Poom Saksansin and Prayad Marksaeng and Japan’s Masahiro Kawamura stayed two shots off the lead following their rounds of 69.

Starting on the tenth hole, Prom remained patient as he tackled the demanding course, rolling in four birdies before stumbling with his only blemish of the day on the eighth hole.

Hend, who was victorious in Malaysia last week, completed an amazing turnaround for his opening efforts. The big hitting Australian recovered brilliantly with three closing birdies after making a triple bogey on the ninth hole where he found the water hazard twice.

Play was abandoned at 6.40pm local time due to fading light. Three players will return at 7.40am to resume their first round with the second round scheduled to start as planned.

Hend eyes more Asian success at the Hero Indian Open

By Deepak Arora

GURGAON, March 27: Australia’s Scott Hend hopes to continue his affinity with Asia when he challenges for back-to-back victories at the historic Hero Indian Open which starts on Thursday.

The big-hitting Hend, who claimed his 10th Asian Tour title in Malaysia last week, is looking to taste success in India for the first time in his career when he takes on the challenging Gary Player-designed course at the DLF Golf and Country Club.

Hailed as the most successful international player on the Asian Tour, Hend had claimed all his 10 victories in Asia, including three titles in Thailand, two in Macau and one each in Indonesia, Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei and Singapore.

Reigning Asian Tour Order of Merit champion Shubhankar Sharma will have another shot at fulfilling his childhood ambitions as he takes aim at adding his name to the illustrious list of Indian winners at the US$1.75 million event.

The 22-year-old Sharma, the highest-ranked Indian on the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR), set a new course record after firing an eight-under-par 64 during the second round of the Hero Indian Open last year.

The talented Indian held a share of the lead heading into the final round last year but would eventually close with a disappointing 75 to settle for a tied-seventh place finish.

Armed with a more mature mindset and a better game plan this time around, Sharma hopes to redeem himself by putting up another title charge in his National Open.

Anirban Lahiri, the 2015 Asian Tour Order of Merit champion, is thrilled to be back home for the first time this year after honing his skills on the PGA Tour, where he has made five cuts in his last seven starts so far this season.

Lahiri, who won the Indian Open in 2015, endured a long haul 19-hour flight from Florida before arriving in New Delhi this morning. He will have to fight off jet-lag to turn his season around at the event which he has enjoyed several impressive results in the past.

A stellar 144-men field from 28 countries will be vying for top honours at the Hero Indian Open, which celebrates its 55th edition this week.

Shiv Kapur gets counts on home advantage at Hero Indian Open

By Deepak Arora

NEW DELHI, March 26: India’s Shiv Kapur will be counting on home advantage to steer him to a win at his National Open when he tees off for the Hero Indian Open on Thursday.

The 27-year-old Kapur has been suffering a dip in form where he has missed two cuts in his last four starts. However, he remains optimistic that the US$1.75million event will be his springboard to success.

Kapur still remembers fondly how he used to carry the score boards for Asian Tour veterans, Arjun Atwal and Jeev Milkha Singh when he was still a kid.

Like how he used to admire their lofty positions on the leaderboard then, Kapur now a four-time Asian Tour winner, hopes he can see his name in that same position when the Hero Indian Open gets underway.

Jazz Janewattananond of Thailand, coming off two top-five finishes in a row, will be riding on his superb form ahead of the event which enters its 55th edition on the Asian Tour this week.

The 23-year-old Thai has mapped out a more conservative strategy in his attempt to fulfill his personal goal of making the cut at the Hero Indian Open.

Kapur and Jazz will have their title ambitions put to the test by Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger, South Africa’s Brandon Stone and England’s Aaron Rai, a recent winner in Hong Kong last November.

Shankar, Kohli script thrilling win against Australia in Nagpur

NAGPUR, March 5: Indian bowlers delivered in a heart-stopping climax to fashion a narrow eight-run victory against Australia in the second ODI after skipper Virat Kohli conjured up a resolute hundred in testing conditions on Tuesday.

Pacer Vijay Shankar scalped the last two Australian batsmen in the final over in which Australia needed to score 11 runs for a series-levelling win.

Handing the ball to medium pacer Shankar at the make-or-break situation was a bold decision by skipper Kohli, who had the option of employing Kedar Jadhav as well.

Chasing 251, Australia were 240 for eight when Shankar got rid of dangerous Marcus Stoinins (52) in the very first ball of the 50th over and castled Adam Zampa in the third ball to trigger celebrations in the Indian camp.

Before that, pacer Jasprit Bumrah (2/19), who is ever-reliable in death overs, dismissed Nathan Coulter-Nile and Pat Cummins in space of three balls in the 46th over and conceded just one run in the 48th over, playing a crucial role in India’s win after the spinners had choked the Australians in the middle overs.

It was Stoinis who had kept the visitors in hunt as he resisted the unrelenting Indian attack with aplomb and added 47-runs for the sixth wicket with Alex Carey (22).

Kohli’s 40th ODI century steered India to a competitive 250 after a middle-order collapse on a dry surface at the VCA stadium but it proved to be just enough in the end as India earned the win with just three balls to spare.

India now lead the five-match series 2-0 with third match slated for Friday in Ranchi.


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