15 - 21, 2010

The three-day, 54 holes, 4th Aquafina Royal Palm Golf Team Championship, a premier event of Pakistan's golf events calendar, was well contested at the beautiful and alluring, par 72 Royal Palm Golf and Country Club Golf Course in Lahore.

The main event in this competition was the Team Match, on stroke play basis where three best scores are counted, besides the net Challenge Shield and gross honours for the individual with the best gross score. A field of 16 four member teams representing leading golf clubs of the country converged to Royal Palm for the combat hoping for a performance that would fetch them glory and a majestic trophy and also a part of the contesting field were 70 individuals, most of them with a handicap of 5 and below, seeking esteem and elevation as golfers of substance, after some fierce competition.

Royal Palm turned out to be a tough course as quite a few aspirants found this out at their cost at the end of the first round and that included a few veterans of yesteryears like Dr. Aimal Zaman and Mehmood Aziz who have played admirably for the country in the past. However there were others who played quality golf and rose to the demands of the occasion and the one who came to the fore was Hamza Amin, an upcoming prominent player who carded a round of 69, three under par helping the Islamabad A team to move to the top of the leader board. In this effort Hamza was supported by a workmanlike par round from his senior team mate and his guru, Taimur Hassan and Mehmood Aziz whose round was without sparkle but a part of the teams score count of 220. During the first round Hamza demonstrated excellent course management using a two iron to tee off on some of the par 4 narrow fairways and the putting touch was magical, with no three putts.

At the closing of the first day, the team position stood as follows: Islamabad A comprising Taimur Hassan, Hamza Amin, Mehmood Aziz and Mubraiz Ahmed; 220 Royal Palm A comprising Omer Salamat, Amir Mehmood, Shoaib Bokhari, Azfar Hassan; 234 Gymkhana B comprising Mohsin Anwer, Javed A.Khan, Sameer Iftikhar, Shahid A.Khan; 235 Karachi comprising M.Waseem Rana, Zohaib Asif, Asad I.A.Khan, Saad Javed; 236 in the contest for individual gross, in the forefront was Hamza Amin with a gross score of 69, followed by Taimur Hassan and Shoaib Bokhari at 72 and at 74 M Waseem Rana.

In the second round, again noticeable was the struggle faced by most of the golf amateurs who at the start were full of optimism about their chances but as the competition progressed the challenge of the golf course curbed their march to winning scores; they were either bitten by the out of bounds feature or devoured by the hazards and in quite a few cases the putting jinx proved venomous, however the smiles did not disappear because players felt they had gained from the experience and certainly enjoyed golfing at this most adorable course.

As for the successful ones Hamza Amin continued to impress with his golfing skills and their application, and facilitated the Islamabad team in retaining the top slot in the team match. With adequate sustenance from his other teammates he consolidated the position of his team. The aggregate score of 451 after 36 holes was far better than the team in second position. As a result of the game during the second round, there came about a change in the second and third slots with Multan team improving and moving into the second place with an aggregate score of 468; another team that moved up the ladder was Lahore Gymkhana A, and at the end of the second day they were placed third, a stroke behind Multan. Other team positions were Gymkhana B at 472, DHA Karachi at 473 and Rawalpindi at 484.

As for the individual performances, Hamza Amin stood out as the most adept one with rounds of gross 69 on the first day and 73 on the second day. His score of 73 on Saturday, second round was the result of birdies on holes 2 and 3, thirteen regulation pars and bogies on 5, 10 and 14 which were because of less aggressive putts. During the second round the rain and breeze factor affected scoring, yet Hamza managed to strategise his game well enough to produce the best round of the day.

Other formidable competitors who played fine tuned golf in the second round were Zulfiqar Ali 74, Shahid Khan 75, Aleemur Rehman 76, and Murad A.Khan 76. Praiseworthy was Murad during the second days outing and his shot making reflected accuracy.

Team Positions: Islamabad A, 451; Multan 468; Gymkhana A 469; Gymkhana B 472; Karachi B 473; Rawalpindi 484. In the contest for individual gross honors Hamza Amin was placed at 142 followed by Zulfiqar Ali 151 and more contenders at 151 are Aleem ur Rehman, M.Waseem Rana and Taimur Hassan with Shahid A.Khan at 152 and Murad Khan at 156.

In the event, three things were remarkable i.e. Hamza Amin's stunning performance, exceptional qualities of the Royal Palm Golf Course layout and Pepsi's commitment to this grand event. Hamza Amin is a youngster currently studying business management in Austria and enjoying his break in Pakistan, and within a few days of arrival in Pakistan and just a few rounds of golfing practice, he demonstrated his prowess as a golfer of substance capable of making his mark in the international arena.

Through rounds of 69, 73, 74, he virtually wrecked the winning chances of many other combatants and carved out a decisive victory for himself and also for the Islamabad 'A' team beside himself comprising Taimur Hassan, Mehmood Aziz and Mubraiz Ahmed. In the team event, Islamabad 'A' performed ably and the team members combined extremely well to look dominant throughout the championship.

At the end of the three rounds, Islamabad 'A' emerged victorious with three days aggregate team score of 674. As regards the other teams Multan comprising Zulfiqar Ali, Abdul Zahoor, Ashiq Hussain and Amir Shahzad captured the runner-up slot, curbing the strong challenge put up by the Gymkhana 'A' team. Ultimately Gymkhana 'A' team consisting of playing members Aleem-ur-Rahman, Danyaal Jehangir, Murad A.Khan and Sardard Murad ended up third with a score of 703.

In the competition for individual gross honors, Hamza Amin ended up on top with a score of gross 216 followed by Taimur Hassan at 224, Zulfiqar Ali at 224, M.Waseem Rana at 226, Aleem-ur-Rahman at 228 and Abdul Zahoor at 232. Hamzas' father Taimur Hassan also made his presence felt with rounds of 72,79 & 73, finishing the final hole on the last day with a dazzling birdie putt, which fetched him the second position.

The challenge shield was played over two rounds and 36 holes and the winner in net category was a very young one Mahad Zafar who finished the two days with net scores of 71 and 68 equal to 139. Seasoned Shahid Khan came second with a net score of 72+70=142.

Ladies section was dominated by Nushmiya Sukhera who started the day with a triple bogey, yet managed to remain composed and ended up with an 18 holes score of net 69. Kashfa Zafar came second in the net section while Tahira Nazir won the runner-up gross and Ghazala Yasmin won the ladies gross.

The Royal Palm Golf Course was in excellent shape and virtually all participants including the winner Hamza Amin hailed the excellent condition of the Royal Palm Golf Course.

At the conclusion of the championship, Jahanzeb Qayyum Khan of Pepsi and Pervez Qureshi of Royal Palm awarded prizes to the winners.