Volvo Masters: Kapur best Indian golfer; Lam lifts title

December 21st, 2008 - 6:30 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangkok, Dec 21 (IANS) Indian golfer Shiv Kapur rounded off the season with a satisfying top-10 finish Sunday at the Volvo Masters of Asia at the very venue, which threw him as the latest star in Indian golf three years ago.Kapur with three birdies on the final six holes finished with a round of two-under for a total of seven-under 281 and in tied 10th place at the season-ending tournament at the Thai Country Club.

Up at the top, Singapore’s Lam Chih-Bing enjoyed an emphatic breakthrough triumph firing a flawless five-under-par 67 to win by two strokes from Thailand’s Chapchai Nirat, who signed off with a 69 in the season finale.

Lam posted a winning 14-under-par 274 total with a burst of three birdies over his closing four holes and Chapchai was 12-under 276.

Jeev Milkha Singh wrapped up his stunning season with a tied 37th finish at the Volvo Masters of Asia and was officially crowned the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit champion with record total winnings of $1,452,701, the highest ever in a single season on Asian Tour.

“It is always nice to finish No. 1 and with a few records, but nicer still were the ‘W’ (wins) I had this season. Overall, on the golf course it was a great year, and I am grateful to all for the support I got from everybody in the golfing world and media and elsewhere for being so understanding in my hour of crisis,” Jeev said.

“I also want to dedicate this win to my wife, Kudrat, my family and the people of India who have gone through a lot this season,” said an emotional Jeev after finishing his round. “The evening will see some celebrations and award ceremonies, but my mind will be with the family and friends, who have supported me through the year.”

For Kapur, who has just managed to keep his Tour card in Europe, the top-10 was a good morale booster at the end of a long season. “Before I came here, I knew I was playing fine but not getting the results and I did not want to put pressure on myself. On the final day, coming on the back nine, I had set myself a mini goal of getting to seven-under and I told my caddie (Thakur), we needed to achieve that to make the season more meaningful. I am glad I managed that,” said Kapur.

Among other Indians, Gaganjeet Bhullar (72), who took some final tips from Jyoti Randhawa (73) at the breakfast table on the final morning finished in a tie with the latter in 22nd place, while S.S.P. Chowrasia (71) and Gaurav Ghei (70) were tied 31st at one-under 287 for four rounds.

Digvijay Singh (72) ended the week at nine-over 297 in tied 62nd place, while amateurs Rashid Khan (71) played his under par round of the week to finish at seven-over 295 and in tied 54th. The other amateur 17-year-old Rahul Bakshi (80) ended at 20-over 308 in tied 67th but very rich in experience.

Describing his win, an ecstatic Lam Chih-bing said: “Unbelievable. I have won a bunch of small ones before but this is just unbelievable. All my hard work and there are so many people to thank. It was such a jam-packed leaderboard and I’m just so glad I went out and finished the job.”

Australian Terry Pilkadaris finished third, a stroke behind second placed Nirat after charging into contention with a bogey-free 66, with David Gleeson (71) and Andrew Dodt (65) were tied for fourth at 10-under 278. Chinese Taipei’s Lin Wen-tang (69) came in tied sixth to virtually assure himself a place in the world’s top-50 and also a spot in the US Masters next year.

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