Iqbal claims his 132nd national title

Pips Munir in playoff to clinch maiden National Professional Golf Tournament crown

Nabil Tahir January 16, 2017
Another trophy for cabinet: Iqbal won this tournament for the very first time in six attempts, however, this was his 132nd national crown overall. Photo Courtesy: Nabil Tahir

KARACHI: Pakistan’s top golfer Shabbir Iqbal clinched the Bank Al Habib Rashid D Habib National Professional Golf Tournament after pipping Muhammad Munir in a playoff at the Karachi Golf Club on Monday.

Iqbal won this tournament for the second time in six attempts, however, this was his 132nd national crown overall.

“It is great to have all the titles of the professional events happening in Pakistan. I made a lot of mistakes and missed lots of putts which is why Munir finished with the same score as me. He played well, but I had luck on my side,” Iqbal told The Express Tribune after the event.

Iqbal in the lead on day two

Iqbal went on the praise the level of competition at the tournament and said that with concentrated efforts more talent could be groomed. “There is a lot of talent in our country; we saw that in this tournament as well. But we need to groom that talent. New players will only come forward if they have the right facilities and sponsors. Without them, you cannot expect much from the young golfers,” he said.

Iqbal finished with an aggregate score of 11-under-par (205) after finishing the third day with a score of three-under-par (69). Munir, who started the last day two strokes behind the winner, played impressively to finish the day with the same aggregate total as Iqbal.

The duo could not be separated after the first playoff had ended in a tie and it had to take a seven-foot putt by Iqbal to clinch the crown as he scored a birdie on the 18th hole while his opponent could only manage par.

Meanwhile, Matloob Ahmed, Waheed Baloch and Afzal Mohsin finished third, fourth and fifth respectively. The winner bagged Rs456,000, while the runner-up pocketed Rs306,900.

The tournament was being played in memory of legendary banker, Rashid D Habib, who was also a keen sportsman and an ace golfer with great contribution to the development of the sport in Pakistan.

The tournament offered a total prize money of Rs5.1 million, while a brand new Toyota Corolla was also on offer for anyone who achieved a ‘hole in one’, however, no golfer could claim the car.


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