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Sunday, 03 February 2013
Shiv Kapur  (EuropeanTour)
Shiv Kapur (EuropeanTour)
Shiv Kapur came through an intense battle of attrition to claim a maiden Challenge Tour title on home soil at the Gujarat Kensville Challenge.

Having broken the course record with a scorching 65 on the third day, it was a one under par final round of 71 which handed the home favourite a two shot victory at Kensville Golf and Country Club, outside the western Indian city of Ahmedabad.

While he entered the final day with a four-shot cushion over the chasing pack, things did not go as smoothly as planned and Kapur started shakily with two bogeys in the first two holes, opening the door for his playing partners Phillip Archer and Andrew McArthur to mount a challenge.

Although the overnight leader from New Delhi composed himself with two birdies at the fourth and fifth, he proceeded to bogey the seventh while he could only watch as Englishman Archer carded three successive birdies from the fifth to narrow the lead to just one.

They both parred the next four holes but just as Kapur looked to be cruising to victory with birdies at the 12th and 14th, McArthur launched a late charge with three birdies in a row from the 15th.

With two shots in it going down the par four 18th, it was all set up for a tense finish and a sweet second shot from McArthur gave him a makeable birdie putt on the final green while Kapur’s approach bounced to 15 feet over the back.

But the challenger missed his 15 footer and Kapur held his nerve to get up and down for par, finish on 14 under for the tournament and make it two Indian winners in three years, following Gaganjeet Bhullar’s victory at the inaugural event in 2011.

“This victory is really important to me,” said Kapur. “Winning on home soil is obviously very important but it is a massive step for me going forward. It gets another monkey off my back after winning on the Professional Golf Tour of India at the end of last year.

“It did not go exactly to plan, to start with two bogeys. Obviously Phil and Andrew both played great and both made it hard for me but in a way I made it hard for myself with that start.

“I never really felt out of control at any point though, that I couldn’t get it back or that I was in dire straits. I felt pretty comfortable. I knew I was playing well and you will always have a few bad holes but I knew I could bounce back from that.

“I really played steady golf on the back nine and didn’t make any mistakes, had no bogeys and I was in charge of my own destiny.”

Kapur is now reassessing his season as he looks to make his way back on to The European Tour via the Challenge Tour and the 30 year old believes the win could be a catalyst for the kind of success which has been somewhat elusive thus far in his career.

“Now that I have won this it might be a sign of things to come,” he said. “I am playing well obviously and I hope to play a few more Challenge Tour events and try and make my way back on to The European Tour that way.

“I played six full seasons on The European Tour and finally lost my card last year but I went through a patch where I was second guessing myself on whether I had what it takes at that level. But deep down I knew I had it in me so this is a great start to the year and positive for the future.”

McArthur, meanwhile, was happy with his strong start to the season despite coming so close to a second Challenge Tour title.

“I just under-read the putt at 18,” said the Glaswegian, who signed for a final round 69 to finish on 12 under par. “I knew it was going to come back from the outside right of the hole and then it just kept going left and slipped past, but it was a good putt.

“It’s a good start to the season. Obviously I wanted to win, that’s why I was here, but it’s a great start to the season for me.”

Archer also carded a 69 to finish a shot further back in third place on 11 under par, three shots clear of American Daniel Im in fourth place.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1KAPUR, ShivIND18-14
2MCARTHUR, AndrewSCO18-12
3ARCHER, PhillipENG18-11
4IM, DanielUSA18-8
T5KUMAR, MukeshIND18-7
T5SLUITER, TimNED18-7
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