In-form Himmat lifts DLF masters on windy day

Gurgaon: Himmat Singh Rai shunned extravagance to hit a steady even-par 72 to stay a stroke ahead of the chasing pack and clinch the Rs 95 lakh DLF Masters on yet another unforgivingly windy day at the DLF Golf and Country Club on Saturday.

Slow and steady all through the first three rounds, Rashid Khan came from behind and fired a four-under 68 to finish second, while Sanjay Kumar (73) reaped the benefits of his consistency to sign off third with a total of two-under 286.

Finishing a stroke behind was Gaurav Pratap Singh who carded an even-par 72.

However, the unforgiving windy conditions took a toll on overnight leader Anirban Lahiri as the Bangalore golfer slipped to the fifth place after stumbling to a six-over 78 for a total of even-par 288.

Shamim Khan (73), SSP Chowrasia (74) and Deepinder Singh Kullar (75) finished tied sixth, while a stroke behind was the trio of defending champion Ashok Kumar (75), two-time winner Jyoti Randhawa (76) and Gaurav Ghei (74).

For first half of the day, things seemed too confusing as overnight leader Lahiri slipped and Himmat rose to prominence amid constant threat from Rashid, who had roared into contention from nowhere.

However, midway into the round it became evident that it would be a matter of Himmat holding on to his narrow lead. Lahiri too had popped out a yellow ball, knowing very well it was all but over from him.

"I played with a yellow ball in the end as I didn`t want to miss out of having a bit of fun," Lahiri quipped later.

Two strokes behind coming into the final round, Himmat didn`t have the best of start as he dropped a bogey at the second but he made amends with a couple of birdies at the sixth and ninth to take the turn at one-under.

On resumption, he dropped a stroke on the 13th but steadied himself with a birdie on the next. However, wind got to him in the 17th, leaving him with just a one-stroke lead.

At the 18th hole, Rashid hit a good 80 yard tee-shot and kept it on the left. He had a birdie opportunity but managed to save par to emerge victorious and pocket a prize money of Rs 1,53,5675 and also become the leader of the Rolex money list.

"I looked at the scoreboard only at the 17th hole. In the 18th, I decided to lay up and hit a good 80-yard shot and then saved the par. I am pleased with the win. I had planned a two-under and had that most of the day, though it went a bit haywire in the later stage but I am happy to win it in the end," said Himmat, who won the ISPS Handa Classic last month.

"Personally it was a tough tournament. I controlled my emotions. I was not sure of the wind, I was guessing all through. The Indian Open will be my next tournament," he added.

Overnight tied 13th, Rashid too had a bogey at the fifth but he fired three birdies at the sixth, eighth and ninth holes to hold things back before losing a stroke at the 12th hole.

However, Rashid picked up an eagle on the 14th and a birdie on the 17th to become the only golfer to turn in a sub-par card for the day.

"My putting was not good for the first two days but today I putted well and it reflected on my score," he said.

Lahiri`s rollercoaster round included four bogeys, two birdies, an eagle and three double bogeys.


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