Calcutta: Shubhankar Sharma of Delhi defeated local lad Viraj Madappa 3&2 to become the youngest player to win the 112th Tata Steel Amateur Golf Championship at the Royal Calcutta Golf Club on Sunday.
“It is an amazing feeling to win the biggest and most prestigious tournament,” said the 16-year-old Shubhankar. It was his first victory on the Tata Steel IGU Amateur Tour.
In the first 18 holes, Shubhankar hit five birdies while Viraj fired four. Shubhankar returned with a gross score of 3-under par while Viraj was 1-under at the breather.
However, it was Viraj who drew the first blood when he birdied the opening hole to go 1-up. But the lead remained short lived as Shubhankar took control of the proceedings.
It was not until the 11th hole that Viraj found his wonted form. Finding himself 4-down, Viraj played displayed some good skills to stay in the hunt. After both halved the next seven holes, Viraj birdied the final hole to reduce the margin to 3-down after 18 holes.
On the back nine, Viraj birdied the 20th hole to further reduce the margin to 2-down. In a seesaw battle, Shubhankar birdied the 22nd hole to regain the 3-up advantage. By the 31st hole, Viraj fired two birdies and reduced the margin to 1-down.
However, Shubhankar hit two consecutive birdies on the 32nd and 33rd holes respectively as Viraj managed pars to take a 3-up lead with three holes to go. But Shubhankar held his nerves to clinch the title.
“Prior to the final, my driving had been a bit of a problem and I worked on it at the range yesterday. Today, I really hit the ball well,” said Shubhankar.
“Viraj made a superb comeback in the last 18 but the birdies on the 14th and 15th sealed the issue,” the 16 -year-old said.
The IGU Royal Trophy was won by Sunny Uthup in the 0-14 category while Kunal Guha and Sanjeev Sood captured the title in the 15-18 and 19 & above handicap categories respectively.
Meanwhile, in a dazzling presentation ceremony, Tata Steel felicitated five-time national champion Ashok Malik.