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Arjun, Shamim in SRF Matchplay title face-off

New Delhi, Sat, 15 Mar 2008 NI Wire

PGTI members Arjun Singh and Shamim Khan continued with their good touch in the challenging Matchplay format of the game as they set up the title clash, after winning their respective semi-final matches, in the SRF All India Professional Golf Matchplay Championship being played at the Delhi Golf Club here on Friday.

Arjun Singh emerged victorious against Lam Chih Bing with a score of 2 & 1 while Shamim Khan defeated Ali Sher on the second playoff hole in their respective semis to move into the finals to be played on Saturday.

After the SRF Matchplay final there will be a new winner on the PGTI circuit on Saturday, as both Arjun and Shamim have not won a title on the PGTI so far in the current season.

Arjun Singh had an exciting semi-final clash with Singapore’s Lam Chih Bing as he first went ahead by winning the fifth hole. Lam Chih soon bounced back and took the lead after he claimed the seventh and ninth holes.

Arjun came right back into the game with wins on the 10th and 15th and then went on to win the 17th to book a place in the final with a 2 & 1 score.

“I had a terrific round as I was seven under after 17 holes. I made eight birdies and one bogey and picked up the pace on the back nine. Lam Chih also played really well and gave me a tough fight,” said Arjun adding, “I’m looking forward to the Saturday’s final. In a 36-hole match one needs to be consistent throughout the day.”

In the other semi-final of the day, veteran Ali Sher took on his nephew Shamim Khan. If the first semi-final was a close affair this one went to the wire and eventually the nephew held his nerves to prevail over his uncle in the play-offs. Shamim won the nail-biting encounter by a sinking a ten feet putt on the second playoff hole (20th hole).

It was all squared up after 18 holes as Shamim had won the first, sixth and seventh holes while Ali Sher bagged the fifth, eighth and 10th. The two players birdied the first playoff hole. Shamim then came through by sinking another birdie on the 20th as Ali Sher made par.

Shamim Khan, the 2006 SRF All India Matchplay champion, is well on course in regaining his title after a gap of two years.

“I started well but then struggled with some left to right putts on the back nine. I did well with the irons today and made four birdies, two in the regulation 18 and two consecutive birdies in the playoff. Ali Sher was also at his best today. He made some fantastic chip-putts,” said Shamim.

“It will be a tough final. However, a 36-hole match always gives you a chance to make a comeback, in case you do not start well,” added Shamim.

The final could turn out to be another pulsating encounter as both Shamim Khan and Arjun Singh have performed well in the recent past. While Shamim is currently fifth on the PGTI Order of Merit with four top 10 finishes out of five starts and was also the first round leader at the Johnnie Walker Classic, Arjun is currently 11th on the PGTI Order of Merit with two top 10 finishes out of three starts.

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