KARACHI: Fast-rising youngster Omar Khalid created history on Sunday when he comfortably won the 60th National Amateur Golf Championship of Pakistan to become the youngest ever player to claim the country’s most prestigious title.
Omar, an O Levels student from Karachi, played a dream final round of two-under-par 70 to win the coveted National amateur crown by a whopping five-shot margin at the Karachi Golf Club.
He is by far the youngest player to win Pakistan’s national championship. Ralfay Raja from Rawalpindi finished as the runner-up.
In the seniors category Col Rustam Ali won the title while Karachi’s Azhar Abbas was the runner-up.
Lahore’s Rimsha Ijaz won the ladies title while her sister Parkha Ijaz was the runner-up.
The main contest on the final day was between the top four contenders for the amateurs’ title – Omar Khalid, Ralfay Raja, Umer Khokhar and Salman Khan.
Omar who had scores of 77, 71 and 74 in the first three round started the day with a one-shot lead over the rest of the pack. He quickly added to the lead by making four birdies on the first six holes on the front nine. His birdies came on holes 1,3,4 and 6. Playing flawless golf, Omar also birdies the 9th hole to end front nine at 31 (-5). By that time Omar had already accumulated a big eight-shot lead over second-placed Ralfay. Omar had one more birdie on hole No. 15 and finally won the championship by five strokes with a four-day aggregate of 292 (+4). Ralfay was also in top gear with a final round with a score of 74 that included an eagle on the par-5 14th. Karachi’s Saim Shazli finished third followed by Qasim Ali Khan, Salman Jahangir, Mansoor Teli, Umer Khokhar and Salman Khan.
Omar, who is regarded as Pakistan’s top junior star, received the coveted trophy from chief guest, Lt Gen Mian Hilal Hussain, President Pakistan Golf Federation (PGF) at the prize distribution ceremony of the four-day championship.
Gen Hilal hailed Omar’s stunning title-winning triumph.
“The success of young Omar Khalid is proof of the fact that Pakistan’s golf is progressing and more and more youngsters are getting better at the game,” said Gen Hilal.
Omar, meanwhile, was over the moon following what was by far the biggest title of his career.
“It’s great to win the National Championship,” said Omar, who won the last year’s Faldo Series Pakistan title. “I had a dream round today and all the birdies in the initial holes took the pressure off me,” he added.
Ralfay Raja also praised Omar over his excellent pearformance.
“You feel bad if you lose after playing badly,” he said. “I played well today but Omar was awesome. He played great golf and deserved to win. He is a youngster and I’m sure he has a bright future.”
Omar also received words of praise from Umer Khokhar, the reigning Pakistan No.1.
“He (Omar) didn’t give us a chance today. He was too good,” he said.
Asad I.A Khan, President Sindh Golf Association (SGA), also showered praise on Omar. “It’s great to see Omar creating history by winning the national championship at just 16. And the big margin of his victory is also unprecedented,” he commented.
In the ladies category, Rimsha Ijaz won the title despite carding 80 on the final. Ghazala Yasmin was second but won the net title.
In the seniors’ category, Col Rustam expectedly won the gross title. Azhar Abbas, played three consecutive rounds of 78 to finish as the runner-up.
Following is the amateurs’ leader-board after the final round:
292: Omar Khalid
297: Ralfay Raja
299: Saim Shazli
302: Qasim Ali Khan, Salman Jahangir
303: Mansoor Teli, Umer Khokhar, Salman Khan
304: Omar Shikoh
306: Arsalan Shikoh
Senior amateurs’ leader-board after final round:
224: Col Rustam Ali
232: Lt Col Asif Mehdi
234: Azhar Abbas
235: Sohail K Rana
236: Haji Ishaq
227: Rimsha Ijaz
234: Ghazala Yasmin
236: Parkha Ijaz, Humna Amjad
238: Aania Farooq
248: Syeda Iman Ali Shah.