LAHORE - Even in murkiest of the nights, stars shine and glitter the skies. Pakistan always got such surprisingly gleaming stars to lighten up the sporting atmospheres. Hamza Bilal Sarfaraz, an 18-year-old junior golfer, has captured the attention by qualifying for the most prestigious golfing event – The IMG Academy Junior World Golf Championship – held in California, USA at Torrey Pines – South Golf Course from July 12 to 15.

The IMGA, title sponsor of the event, has been holding this world cup since 1968. The event was founded by San Diego Junior Golf Association to unite and connect the young golfers from all parts of the world. From 475 juniors in their inaugural event to 1,250 participants, 40% of which are girls, from 56 countries, the event is the largest international event because of the participation it receives. The objective of the founding fathers was to introduce cultural diversity amongst players, gender balance and a greater understanding of different values, which eventually help develop the game of golf around the globe.

Hamza appeared in the qualifying match of 18 holes on provisional basis, held in UK, representing his university. “My round got off to a rocky start, two really bad bogeys. I was +3 or +4 at the turn. The back 9, I really stepped on the gas and made three or four birdies coming in. On the last hole, I was 140 or 150 yards and stuck my pitching wedge to two feet. That turned out to be the decisive birdie because there were like five players at +2, for the final spot,” Hamza narrates. The final Birdie booked Hamza, a ticket to San Diego and an opportunity to exhibit his skills on the largest stage of golf, the World Golf Championship.

In the category of 15 to 18 years boys, there were 197 players from golf savvy countries like Japan, USA, Canada, UK, Thailand, etc. The competition was intense, Hamza confidently scored 80, +8 in the first round and then 81 and 84 in the next two rounds, missing the cut for the fourth round. However, his first appearance on such an enormous platform has built his confidence by many folds. Tourney Pines, a demanding course of 7,195 Yards, he has shown a consistence overall performance. His daunting courage to fight it out on a challenging course proves his mettle. He is a brilliant golfer with a bright golfing career ahead.

In view of his accomplishment and qualification for the IMGA event, he has also received an invitation to participate in the FGC Callaway Junior World Golf Championship at Palm Springs, California, the US from July 18-20, 2022. These Tours will, certainly, link such blooming players with prestigious colleges around the world, bringing honor to Pakistan.

Visionary President Pakistan Golf Federation (PGF), Lt Gen (R) Hilal Hussain, in recognition of Humza’s high achievement, presented him with a PGF blazer and a tie. “The point is, he earned the spot through his own hard work, I simply stepped in to dress him up suitably for Pakistan,” said the President PGF.