Lahore, Pakistan: Nadeem Aslam defeated M. Minhaj Maqsood Warraich in a tense play-off to claim the most notable win of his career and bring an end to the dominant Faldo Series Pakistan Championship reign of Mubariz Ahmad.
Bidding for a fourth successive triumph in the World Amateur Golf Ranking event that is among the highlights on the annual Pakistani golfing calendar, Mubariz was upstaged by Nadeem and Minhaj at the Defence Raya Golf & Country Club.
Struggling to find the form which had secured him victory in all three previous editions of the Faldo Series Pakistan Championship, international representative Mubariz was unable to break 80 over the demanding, 6,810-yard course in Lahore.
Meanwhile, 19-year-old Nadeem made light of the hot and humid conditions, following an opening 82 with a 74, the lowest round of the tournament, and a closing 76.
That gave the Garrison Club Lahore member a three-day aggregate of 232, ensuring him top spot in the Boys’ Under-21 category, six strokes clear of runner-up Usman Ali and 11 in front of Mubariz.
It was a display that underlined the considerable improvement in the game of four-handicapper Nadeem, who was 15 strokes worse off when placing 10th in the third Faldo Series Pakistan Championship at the same venue just nine months earlier.
It also left him tied at the top in the overall standings with Minhaj, winner of the Boys’ Under-18 section.
In the sudden-death play-off, it was Nadeem who prevailed thanks to a par at the first extra hole where Minhaj, last year’s Pakistan Junior champion, could only manage a bogey.
Nonetheless, it was a fine effort from Minhaj, a five-handicapper from the Rawalpindi Golf Club, who celebrated his 18th birthday a fortnight ago.
Both of them will go forward to represent their country in the ninth Faldo Series Asia Grand Final, to be hosted by Sir Nick Faldo at Mission Hills next March.
Also on their way to the China extravaganza for the second year in a row will be Ali Anish Rehman (Boys’ Under-16 winner) and Maryama Khan (Girls’ Under-21 winner).
Six-time Major championship winner Faldo, Britain’s most successful golfer, said: “Congratulations to the Pakistan Golf Federation on the staging of the championship. It was especially good to see the inclusion of a children’s category which fits in with the aims and ideals of the Faldo Series to develop the game not only among elite junior amateurs but also at the grass-roots level.”
Supported by The R&A, ISPS and Mission Hills and endorsed by the Asian Tour and the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation, the 2014-15 Faldo Series Asia campaign stretches over 11 months and is made up of a minimum of 20 championships.
Faldo Series Pakistan Championship, leading final scores: Boys’ Under-21: 232 – Nadeem Aslam (82-74-76). 238 – Usman Ali (80-80-78). 243 – Mubariz Ahmed (83-80-80). Boys’ Under-18: 232 – M. Minhaj Maqsood (82-75-75). 238 – Mustafa Ali Ghani (75-78-85). 240 – Saim Shazli Azher (83-77-80). Boys’ Under-16: 234 – Ali Anish Rehman (81-77-76). 240 – Ahmed Baig (75-79-86). 247 – Murtajiz Abbas Naqvi (80-81-86). Girls’ Under-21: 256 – Maryama Khan (91-83-82). 263 – Danya Eyaz (90-86-87); Aania Farooq Syed (87-87-89).
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