Players on the putting green of hole 11 at the TNGF Open.
Players on the putting green of hole 11 at the TNGF Open.

Competitive spirit to the fore at Independence Day weekend

Practice sessions take place on a different tempo and the caddies’ criticism of one’s stance or shot strength reach a crescendo.

CHENNAI: Muthu, who delivers our drinking water, was bemused when he saw me rushing off for golf three days in a row.

“Unga range ae thani ma (you are in a different league altogether). This is not even cricket, what kind of game is this?” he wondered.

Mad as we may appear to the muggles when the tournament season is upon us, we city golfers transform. Gone is the laid-back approach.

Even the friendlies take a different hue. Nobody wants given putts anymore as one has to hole out in a tournament.

The woods and irons are given extra care. Practice sessions take place on a different tempo and the caddies’ criticism of one’s stance or shot strength reach a crescendo.

Of course, there are a few who take every golfing day with equipoise, but even the habitual winners do not rest on their past wins, so prepping goes on in full swing (pun intended).

Queen of the course

The long weekend of the 75th year of Independence had golfers of all age groups playing at both the courses in the city.

The two-day TNGF Open at the Cosmo TNGF course last Saturday and Sunday received over 110 entries, while at Guindy, the Riders Challenge on Sunday and the Bharath & Associates and RS Mani Cup on August 15 (Monday) saw more lady participants.

The TNGF Open had an impressive turnout. Held in the mornings and following the classic model of low handicappers teeing off first on day one and the leaders teeing off at the end on day two, the event was action packed.

Neither the weather nor the course was kind on the players as can be seen from the winning scores.

On day two, the good golfers simply got better. There was a total of twenty one prizes, and following the principle of maximum one prize per player, there were many happy winners.

The eye-catching performance of the tournament was from Ananthi Vivek, who was placed second in the silver division behind N Veeraraghavan. A teenager, Ananthi, a junior member of Cosmo TNGF, bossed the course.

Darshan Veeraraghavan won in the prestigious Open category while Dhananjay Das topped the Gold Division in the Handicap category. Veteran golfer Tarachand Dugar was the winner in the Bronze category.

In the bogey format, SBS Raman was placed first (better back nine), with -1 while Rajan Syal, returning from an injury, was second. With 36 points, Dr. S Venkatesh took the top honours in the Gold Division in the Stableford category.

Quite a few players dropped out of the second day’s bogey format at Cosmo TNGF, choosing instead to play the same format Riders Challenge at Guindy.

One of the oldest tournaments – being in play since the 1940s – Riders Challenge calls for good understanding between partners.

While TR Jayanandan and B Venkat won it with some solid play, runners-up Jayavelan and Commander Prakash overcame a nervous start, capitalising on birdie opportunities with some accurate putting that hit the bull’s eye.

Jayavelan, who turned up in the Tiranga outfit the next day for the Bharath & Associates, teamed up with Suman Ranjeet.

The format of play being “greensome”, it called for perfect sync between partners who had to choose one ball after the third and hole out.

Having missed a couple of easy-peasy two grip length putts and got a double bogey on the breezy holes 8 and 12, the two recovered skilfully, finishing with a net score of 68 to win the Cup on better back nine.

Youngster Tarun Veeraraghavan, who lives in the USA and is home for a brief vacation, partnered his mother Deepa, the Lady Captain at MGC Golf Annexe. They played some truly inspiring shots to emerge runners-up.

The season is heating up even as the weather is cooling down and a lot of excitement is in store.

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