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November 22, 2020

Shabbir catches up with overnight leader Ahmad

Sports

November 22, 2020

RAWALPINDI: The Pakistan Open title can be anyone’s as Mohammad Shabbir Iqbal (Islamabad Golf Club) caught up with overnight leader Ahmad Baig (PAF Sky View Golf Club, Lahore) going into the final round at the Rawalpindi Club course here on Saturday.

On a day when a very few players managed an under par score, Pakistan’s top golfer Shabbir also carded one over for the third round. He drew level with Ahmad, who had an average round of four over. Both players now have an aggregate score of par 216 after three rounds.

“The course is really playing tough with everyone struggling to settle down. The chilly weather and dry conditions have made it even tougher for the golfers to get a better score,” Shabbir, who has been ruling the domestic circuit for over a decade, told ‘The News’.

Speaking of his own struggle, Shabbir said: “My tee shots were a bit of a problem for me due to the wind. Since the greens are playing a bit faster, I also failed to control my putting.”

He, however, was eyeing a much-improved performance on the final day Sunday (today) in the Rs5 million Pakistan Open.

Shabbir carded two over on the front and one under on the back nine to have a third round score of 73. He had bogeys on the first, third and eighth holes and carded birdies on the ninth and 12th holes.

Ahmad, who enjoyed a two-stroke lead after the second round, managed a score of four over 76 — 38 each on the front and back nines — on Saturday. He had a double bogey on the seventh hole and a bogey each on the second, 11th, 12th, and 16th holes. Two birdies (on holes 3 & 15), however, helped him recover slightly.

Islamabad’s Mohammad Nazir is a stroke behind the leaders. On Saturday, he had a score of par 72. On his heels and a further stroke behind are the trio of Mohammad Afzal (SRC), seasoned Mohammad Munir and amateur Umer Khokhar.

Afzal had the best round of the day, carding four under 68 to stay in the fray for the title. He sank six birdies against two bogeys.

Umer, who had a score of par for the day, earned the distinction of carding an eagle on hole No 15 that helped his cause to stay in the hunt for the title.

Taimoor Khan (PAF Peshawar) had a lacklustre third round, finishing on five over 77 to get an aggregate score of three over 219 over three days.

In the junior category, Abdul Wadood is leading with a two-day score of 143. Faiza Ali is a further six strokes behind followed by Ashfaq Ahmad (151).

Among the senior professionals, PAF Islamabad’s Nisar Hussain will go into the final round on four over followed by Zulfikar Ali and Mohammad Akram, both of whom are seven over after two rounds. President Dr. Arif Alvi will be the chief guest at the prize distribution on Sunday (today).