Ahmed Baig defends JA Zaman Memorial Golf title

LAHORE   -  The 10th JA Zaman Memorial Open Golf Championship deliv­ered an ending that was noth­ing short of a roller-coaster ride - a gripping and fluctuating finale that culminated in a re­sounding climax here at par-72 Lahore Gymkhana Golf Course on Sunday. 

Touted as Pakistan’s next golf sensation, Ahmed Baig of Royal Palm Golf Club seized victory in a spectacular fashion, overturn­ing the match dynamics in the final three holes of an intense 72-hole contest. The specta­tors were treated to perhaps the most thrilling display of golf ever seen at Gymkhana, with Baig clinching the win through a stunning Eagle and consecutive Birdies, surpassing the reigning national champion Muhammad Shabbir by two shots. 

The championship, boasting a prize pool of Rs 7.5 million and a Haval Jolion Car for a hole-in-one, saw an impressive turn­out of over 530 participants, including the country’s top 100 professional golfers. The event’s inclusivity was evident, featuring top amateurs, ladies, seniors, veterans, and juniors, highlighting the diversity and vibrancy of golf in Pakistan. The Zaman family’s commit­ment to nurturing talent across all age groups in sport deserves commendation. 

Aahyan Mumtaz, the tourna­ment organizer, successfully managed one of the largest golfing fields in Pakistan’s his­tory, with the event also achiev­ing a milestone by offering live coverage across social media platforms for all four days, a novel approach for broadcast­ing the sport in the country. 

The final round was a whirl­wind of emotions, with Shabbir initially leading, only to falter due to a costly mistake. Min­haj Warraich and Muhammad Nazir briefly shared the lead until a dramatic turn of events on the 16th hole, where Baig’s remarkable 45-foot putt for an eagle drew him level with the leaders. The closing stages saw Baig outshining his com­petitors with unmatched skill, finishing as the tournament’s back-to-back champion. 

Muhammed Shabbir Iqbal se­cured the runner-up position with an aggregate score of 282, falling just two strokes short of Ahmed Baig. Minhaj Maqsood claimed the third spot with an aggregate score of 283, seven under par. Muhammed Nazir finished with a score of 284, Muhammed Alam 285, Mu­hammed Zubair 288 while Sha­hid Javed Khan and Muhammed Munir 290. In the amateur cat­egory, Shahzaib Khan took the top spot, with Tipu Raja and Hussain Hamid finishing sec­ond and third, respectively. 

The championship culmi­nated in a grand prize distri­bution ceremony at the Lahore Gymkhana Golf Club Lawns, attended by notable figures, including Chairman Lahore Gymkhana Salman Siddique, Convenor Golf Shaukat Javed, Mian Misbah Ur Rehman, Head of Zaman Family Hamid Zaman, the Zaman Family, participating golfers and families, marking a triumphant close to an unfor­gettable tournament. 

Hamid Zaman thanked Gym­khana Management for facili­tating the championship, like its own. He particularly praised Dr Asma Shami’s relentless ef­forts towards nurturing juniors in golf, saying “Junior golf is directly linked with the future of golf.” He announced that Ace Junior Golf League (AJGL), will be fully sponsored by the Zaman Family and will be an integral part of the JA Zaman’s yearly event.

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