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New Zealand's Brown wins title, Shiv joint 5th, Jyoti finish 8th

Gurgoan, Mar 2 (UNI) New Zealand's come back man Mark Brown fired five miraculous birdies on his return nine, to win his second successive title in India in as many weeks as he carded a stunning five under 67 to total 18 under par 270 to emerge easy winner while local challengers Shiv Kapur and Jyoti Randhawa finished 5th and 8th respectively in the 2.5 million dollars Johnnie Walker Classic golf here today.

The 33-year-old Brown continuing with his red-hot form, which had helped him win his maiden Asian Tour victory at the SAIL Open last weekend at Greater Noida, pipped the trio of Scott Strange, Greg Chalmers (Australia) and overnight leader Taichiro Kiyota (Japan), who aggregated identical 15 under par 273, by three strokes to pocket a cheque of 409,743 dollars.

Shiv Kapur made a desperate late surge and carded 4 under par 68 last round and that enabled him to finish creditable tied 5th with a score of 14 under par 274 while title contender Jyoti Randhawa with par 72 slipped to 8th place.

The 26-year-old Delhi pro, who was joint 7th at the end of the penultimate round, played steady golf this afternoon and hit a birdie on his front nine. He looked in good nick as he fired two successive birdies on 10th and 11th but a bogey on the 12th was a set back to his charge for the title.

The 2002 Asian Games gold medalist pared next four holes which further diminished his chance and though he shot birdies on the 17th and 18th, it turned out to be the case of too little and too late.

''I had a chance to win. Only if you win, you can be ''satisfied,'' Shiv said after his round but added ''I am happy the way I finished but not satisfied.'' ''I went to attack and had to defend which has a fine line.

Only blemish on the card was on the 12th, I should have been looking at a three but ended up with five,'' he added.

Randhawa's, chase for a home victory which would have got him closer into the world's top-50 and a place in next month's US Masters, received a blow when he shot a double bogey on the fifth and a bogey on the 7th.

The Indian Open winner became cautious after dropping three strokes and his game lost the edge. Though he started with a birdie but had to wait long for two more birdies which came on the 13th and 18th and he ended with par 72 round to total 13 under par 75.

The lone eighth position finish helped Randhawa earn 61,462 dollars.

Brown who had given up touring life for three years where he worked as a junior golf coach in Wellington but decided to give the Asian Tour another shot last year.

''Basically I just wasn't good enough. I gave it up for three years and worked. I had an itching to start playing again and had a fantastic golf coach in Mal Tongue, and more than anything that encouraged me to come back because I knew what he teaching was simple and correct and it would hold up under pressure and that helped.'' ''It is just dream come true,'' said brown adding ''It was not all that easy. I played terrible on the front side but had solid nine holes on the return and the rest is dream.'' Brown shot seven bogeys and two birdies in his last round, while his rivals, Scot Strange also had a round of 67, which included eight birdies and three bogeys, Taichiro Kiyota returned one under 71 and Greg Chalmers shot 4 under 68. They all earned 183,325 dollars.

Sweden's Johan Edfors and England's Graeme Storm shared the tied fifth place with Shiv Kapur at 14 under 274. They earned 88,014 dollars each.

Jeev Milkha Singh had a bogey free round but that did not help him much as with the help of three birdies he carded three under par 69 last round to take his four day aggregate to 11 under par 277 and that placed him at the joint 11th place.

Florida based Arjun Atwal had yet another uneven round.

He virtually traded a bogey for a birdie. The former Kolkatan fired six birdies and hit five bogeys to return a card of one under 71 to be placed at tied 18th with a total of 9 under 279 (69, 72, 67, 71).

Rahul Ganjee also chalked out a average par 72 round with three birdies and equal number of bogeys and slipped down the leader board with a four day score of 7 under 281 (68, 71, 70, 72).

Mukesh Kumar, Arjun Singh both shot identical three over 75 and while Mukesh with a total of 4 under par 284 (73, 69, 67, 75) ended at joint 44th place Arjun finished tied 54th with 1 under 287 (69, 70, 73, 75).

Kapurthala based Gaganjeet Bhullar had a two over par 74, his worst in the championship and had pulled him down to the joint 58th spot. The young golfer shot two birdies on the third and ninth but bogeys on 6th, 12th and a double bogey on 17th spoiled his day and round. He aggregated par 288 (72, 69, 73, 74).

Digvijay Singh had a dismal six over par 78 round, which included a birdie, five bogeys and a double bogey, and he came tumbling down to last but two place on the leader board at 63. He totaled thee over par 281(70, 70, 73, 78).

Rahul Ganpathy shot five over 77 to take the 64th slot with 5 over par 293. Today he had no birdie but hit three bogeys and a double bogey.

Fiji's Vijay Singh shot par 72 and with 9 under par 279 total ended at joint 17 place.


Story first published: Sunday, March 2, 2008, 18:34 [IST]
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