KARACHI: National golfer Shabbir Iqbal showed just why he is considered one of Pakistan’s finest-ever as he maintained his lead throughout all four days of Bank Al Habib’s 7th Rashid D Habib Memorial National Professional Golf Championship, registering a score of 12 under-par (276) at the Karachi Golf Club on Sunday.
Iqbal’s exploits have won him the trophy as well as Rs531,409 in prize money.
“It was a good tournament; usually golfers from outside Karachi have trouble dealing with the strong winds here, but this time around the winds were not that strong so it wasn’t a problem for them either,” Iqbal told The Express Tribune. “I had little pressure on myself going into the final day as I had a significant lead over second position. The course is good but the greens were slow and that lowered my score. If there were good greens then I would have scored 20 under-par.”
Iqbal’s successful defence of the title means his trophy count now stands at a hardly believable 145 national titles. “I am glad to defend and also win this tournament for the third time,” he said. “This is a tournament in which the organisers respect the professionals a lot and that makes the professional golfers motivated to do more.”
Waheed Baloch, the runner-up with a gross total of six under-par (282), bagged Rs357,459 with the help of his six under-par (66) on the final day. Muhammad Munir and Ansar Mahmood were joint third with five under-par (283) and received Rs201,000 each.
The top five golfers of the Pakistan — Shabbir Iqbal, Muhammad Munir, Matloob Ahmed, Waheed Baloch and Ansar Mahmood — were also paid appearance money of Rs100,000 each.
Imdad Hussain and Mehmood Kiyani took first and second position respectively in the Senior Professional category to claim Rs119,000 and 70,000 respectively.
In the Senior category, Asad Khan and Nadeem came second and earned Rs302,50 apiece while Kashif Maseeh won first place with a gross total of 150 and a prize money of Rs54,000.
The chief guest of the ceremony, Commander Karachi Pakistan Navy Ather Mukhtar, praised the organisers for holding such a wonderful golf event. “We will work with Bank Al Habib and Karachi Golf Club for not only preparing golfers for international competitions but also to organise international championships and tours.”
Speaking at the prize ceremony, Bank Al Habib Managing Director Abbas D Habib lamented the dearth of international golfers in the country.
“No Pakistani golfer is representing Pakistan at the international level right now,” said Habib. “We have started to train teenage golfers for global representation. We will also add appearance money of Rs50,000 for the top three golfers in the senior professional category from next year.”
Defending champion posts five under-par, while Matloob is second with three under-par
Defending champion could only manage one under-par but still retains control
Defending champion hits three under-par on Saturday, cumulates gross total of nine under-par
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