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October 11, 2018

UMA-CNS Open Asian Tour Golf tees off today

Sports

October 11, 2018

KARACHI: Ilija Djurdjevic is one of the longest hitters in the world. Last year, the unassuming Serbian blasted one to a whopping 470 yards – his personal record.

But when the US$300,000 UMA-CNS Open Asian Tour Golf Championship tees off here at the Karachi Golf Club on Thursday, Djurdjevic won’t be one of the favourites to win the title.Instead a host of well-rounded professionals from countries like Thailand, Australia, India and Singapore would be in contention for the crown on a course where long hitters can only stay in the hunt if they stay on the fairway. Thailand’s duo of Suradit Yongcharoenchai, the highest-ranked golfer in the 132-man field, and Tirawat Kaewsiribandit lead the pack in which top Pakistani professionals like Shabbir Iqbal, the country’s number one, would also be hoping to making their presence felt. Also fancying their chances from the host country would be Matloob Ahmed, Waheed Baloch, Muhammad Munir, Muhammad Ashfaq and Hmaza Amin. No Pakistani has ever won an Asian Tour event at home but the local challenge seems capable of giving the foreign aspirants a run for their money.Suradit, meanwhile, will enter the tournament as the highest-ranked player both on the Asian Tour Habitat for Humanity Standings and the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR). With his card for the 2019 season, virtually secured, the 19-year-old will be gunning for victory.

Professionals from 18 nations would be featuring in the four-day championship and the field includes at least five former Asian Tour winners. The players come from countries like India, Singapore, USA, Austria, Spain, Serbia, Australia, England, Argentina, South Africa and Venezuela. A total of 61 foreigners have joined 71 local challengers which include four amateurs from Pakistan’s national team. The competing professionals were all getting ready to negotiate the narrow fairways and tricky greens of the picturesque KGC. Among the title aspirants is 51-year-old Mardan Mamat of Singapore who will be bringing his renewed sense of confidence to the championship.

Mardan is happy with the current state of his game after he made a successful foray into the European Senior Tour this year.Coupled with a pair of good results in the last two events in Chinese Taipei, the 50-year-old Mardan feels that he is ready for an excellent finish, if not a win at the Karachi Golf Club.

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