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Viraj makes it to semis

Calcutta: Local lad Viraj Madappa used the home conditions to his advantage to beat Karan Taunk on the 21st hole to enter the semi-finals of the Tata Steel Amateur Golf Championship of India, at the Royal Calcutta Golf Club, on Friday.

“We have played a lot together… So, we knew each other’s game. Initially, my plan was to attack because match play is all about playing aggressive golf. But I realised that I was being too aggressive on the first nine. So, I restrained myself a bit and took it hole by hole… I kept calm and it made the difference,” said Viraj.

Now, the 17-year-old boy’s aim is to win the title. “I look forward to winning the title,” said Viraj. He will meet Malaysian Abel Tam — the winner of another quarter final — in the first semi-final on Saturday. Abel defeated BR Raja 4 & 3 to make it to the last four.

In the other semi-final, Arshad Ali will face Shubhankar Sharma. While Arshad ousted Mohammed Sagor of Bangladesh 4 & 3, Shubhankar defeated Sri Lankan Vijitha Bandara with an identical margin.

Talking about the Viraj-Karan tie, it was Karan, who started off on a positive note. He went 2-up after four holes. However, a lapse in concentration saw him lose the next hole.

Viraj slowly grew in confidence and drew level on the 10th hole with a birdie.

In a seesaw battle, Karan still held the advantage of 1-up going into the final hole. But he committed a cardinal mistake when he hit a bogey to lose the hole. As a result, the match went into sudden death.

After the players had shared the honours on the first two holes, Viraj held his nerves to shoot a par while his rival hit a bogey.