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Mukesh Kumar triumphs at Digboi golf
Digboi, Oct 25 : Mukesh Kumar romped home with a seven-stroke margin on the final day of the Indian Oil Xtra Premium Masters Golf tournament to defend his title in the quaint surroundings of the Digboi Golf Links, here Sunday.

The professional from Mhow, Madhya Pradesh, signed off with a seven under 65 this day to take his tournament total to 18 under 270. Delhi's Shamim Khan and Feroz Ali Mollah of Kolkata finished tied second with overall scores of 11 under 277.

Mukesh's fourth win of the season also took his title tally to eight on the Aircel-PGTI. The triumph at Digboi earned the old warhorse a handsome prize purse of Rs. 323,300 and helped him climb from fourth to second on the Aircel-PGTI Order of Merit.

Mukesh (68, 66, 71, 65) had an unfortunate bogey on the third when he found the hazard, but from there on he played some impeccable golf to garner eight birdies and take home the trophy.

A terrific nine iron second shot from 145 yards on the fifth set up his first birdie as the ball landed one foot short of the hole.

The 44-year-old then made some excellent chip-putts to collect birdies on the seventh, ninth and 11th even as his competitors Feroz Ali and Shamim Khan struggled to catch up with him.

On the 14th hole, the overnight leader hit a scorching drive and followed that up with a superb sand wedge shot from 50 yards to set up yet another one foot putt for birdie. He sank a couple of challenging putts on the 15th and 16th to pick up two more birdies. Mukesh made it four birdies in a row when he holed it from five feet on the 17th.

"I'm thrilled with this performance. In the recent past I was struggling to get my act together in the last two rounds but today I managed to overcome that problem. I fared well with the putter today and hit some top-class iron shots and approach shots," said Mukesh, who has won the maximum number titles on the Aircel-PGTI.

He added: "I conquered the par fives courtesy of some good chipping and also hit it quite close on a number of occasions. My best drive of the day came on the 14th which set the ball rolling for the four consecutive birdies from there on."

Shamim Khan (70, 69, 70, 68), a double-winner on the Aircel-PGTI in the 2007-08 season, fired five birdies against a lone bogey to post a 68 and finish in tied second along with Feroz Ali Mollah
(67, 70, 71, 69) at 11 under 277.

Feroz Ali's round of 69 included five birdies and two bogeys. Feroz, who was placed lone second after round three, missed a few short putts on the front nine but came back well by sinking some long ones on the back nine.

Vishal Singh and Vinod Kumar finished tied fourth at eight under 280 while Mandeo Singh Pathania was a further stroke behind in sixth place. (IANS)

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