Salman Aslam

Candid Schmooze

Post Match Report Garrison Open 2018

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The elite golf tournament was held under aegis of LGG&CC from 8th to 11 February 2018. The setting, ambience and atmosphere were festive and frolicsome at the pristine, manicured and well maintained golf course. The star studded field attracted top professionals on the countries elitist golfing circuit. The event was spread-eagled over 4 days. One day especially allotted to cater for subsidiary, veteran and seniors event. The event attracted nearly 60 professionals. Other categories were amateurs, senior amateurs, ladies and senior pros. As part of a talent hunt venture juniors event was also held. Youngsters exhibited exceptional an extraordinary golfing repertoire. In Pakistan there is no dearth of talent at the grassroots level. Unfortunately it needs to be tapped and explored. Additional attractions were a subsidiary match and a senior officer invitational. Main sponsors of the event were Suzuki which offered a glittering Suzuki Ciaz for an ace.

Being an Open Event main contest was in the professional’s category. The professional category contest was excruciatingly neck to neck ending in a nail biting fashion. Amateur’s participation ad turnout was low as an amateur’s event was being held side by side at Lahore Gymkhana. PGF must ensure that 2 events on same dates are not held in the same city.

Only 11 players in the field played sub-par rounds. As anticipated Shabbir Iqbal dominated the proceedings from the outset. His closest rival Munir, Matloob and Hamza Amin buckled and wilted under pressure. Lowest recorded score was 66 by 3 players including Hamza Amin son of Taimur Amin a former golfing giant of Pakistan. Eventually it was Shabbir of Islamabad who stole the limelight by breaking away from the chasing pack with a scintillating display of golf par excellence. This time he had only 2 sub-par rounds.

Munir, Hamza and Matloob of Garrison were close at his heels wilted under pressure against cool demeanour of the champion. Water hazards on 16th and 18th marring their score cards. Aggregate of 206 -10 was the winning score. Margin of victory was 4 strokes over His team mate from Islamabad Muhammad Munir who edged out Hamza by a solitary stroke.

Matloob from Garrison could not find his deftness and touch around the apron and was over shadowed by a phenomenal round of 69 by Shahid Javed Khan. Rest of the pack displayed lacklustre performances on fringe of mediocrity.

Champion displayed deft touch a finesse around the greens by saving pars. Hit thundering drives in the fairways. His iron play was awesome hitting maximum greens in regulation. In the amateurs gross category competition was even fiercer. Ahmed Baig Pakistan’s golfing sensation outclassed the field by a massive margin ofv12 strokes and 2 sub-par rounds bespoke of his dexterity. This was reflective of the tenacity, resoluteness and focus of players till the last stroke.

In amateurs net segment old guard Lt Col Shafi eclipsed the field by displaying steady golf. Champions of yester years were in the hunt for glory in senior’s amateurs and professional category. Lt Col Ikram WC Umar and Haseeb shared the honours in this category. Former champions Mehmood Kayani playing a phenomenal sub-par round of 69 followed by Akhtar Ali also displayed their adroitness in senior pros segment. Another segment senior veterans over 70 years of age comprised septuagenarians golfers of the last few decades displayed their prowess, finesse and suppleness in their swings. Mian Farooq Sheikh emerging outright winner followed by vintage golfers Brig Amanullah Niazi and Shahid Mehboob.

17 ladies entered the arena for the coveted gross and net categories played over 36 holes. Former national champ Ghazala Yasmin with an enviable 5 handicap was eclipsed by the sister duo of Rimsha and Parka. The margin of victory was only a solitary stroke.

Prize distribution was a well-attended and impressive ceremony graced by the Corps Commander Lieutenant General Aamir Riaz. Event on the whole was well organised and the management deserve kudos. Sponsors also warrant recognition for playing a pivotal role in promotion of golf. In recognition of the stellar performance of Ahmed Baig at Qatar PGF gave a magnanimous grant of 1(M) followed by0.3 (M) by PGA. This bespeaks of the degree of incentive for upcoming golfers of the country.

Massive changes are required to make the course more challenging in consonance with international circuits. Undulations, water hazards, and bunkers need to be added. Area round 50 yards fringe and apron was devoid of grass where one could see pros using putters to avoid chunks and shanks. There were complaints encompassing this portion where lob wedges are used for the flop shot. Relaying of greens and high quality grass in fairways is warranted badly. It is proposed that senior’s amateur event should be at least 36 holes as per PGF policy.

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posted by Salman Aslam @ 1:27 PM,

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