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In the green

The 15-year-old BT-Honda Pro-Am Championship ushers in a new decade as it tees off in the financial capital.

Print Edition: March 7, 2010

The Mumbai round of the 2010 Business Today-Honda Pro-Am of Champions teed off at the 18-hole Willingdon Sports Club, located in the heart of India's financial capital. On a bright and clear winter morning, cool by Mumbai standards, gentlemen CEOs and golfers started trooping in for the 15th Business Today-Honda golf event. The early birds-Mahendra Doshi, Chairman, LKP Merchant Financing; Vikram Sud, Group COO, Kotak Mahindra; Ravi Prakash, Managing Director, General Real Estates Enterprise; and Ram Kewalramani, Vice President, Special Situations Group, Centrum Capital-teed off at 8.00 a.m. sharp. The tournament, played on the stableford format to 75 per cent of the original handicap, saw a turnout of 88 ardent corporate golfers. With three of the holes closed for renovation, the tournament had to be played over 15 holes.

Players were overheard commenting that the course and fairways were in fine fettle, though some of the greens were a bit on the slow side. However, tough pin positions meant putting was a real challenge, the players said.

The BT Pro-Am of Champions, India's only standalone Pro-Am golf event, has, since its inception in 1995, established itself as the premier Pro-Am in the country. Regular participants volunteered that the event was well organised as usual and that they considered it a privilege to be a part of the event.

Top corporates came out in force at the Mumbai event. These included Rudratej Singh, Global Brand Director, Oral Care, Hindustan Unilever; Prashan Purker, President, ICICI Venture Fund Management; Vikram Sud, Group COO, Kotak Mahindra; Sanjeev Dhand, Country Head, Emerging Corporates India, ING Vysya Bank; V.K. Sethi, Senior Vice President, Vodafone Essar; Arjun Bhandari, Director, Global Banking, Deutsche Bank; Harsh Mariwala, Chairman & MD, Marico; Anil Kapur, MD, South Asia, Western Union Services India; and Sudhir Patel, Chairman, ABC Bearings.

In the individual 17-24 handicap category, the winner with 33 points was Mayur Kamdar, Director, Prasam Exports & Pretex Solutions. In the 9-16 handicap category, the winner was Ashish Aggarwal, Director, Amasan Insurance, with 38 points. Finally, in the 0-8 handicap category, the winner was Subhash Naidu, Director, Pitstop Consultancy, with 32 points. All individual winners get a chance to play at the national finals in Delhi later this year.

With 88 points, the team consisting of Sanjeev Vaz, Managing Director, Vevaa Business Solutions; Vijay Chhabria, Chairman, Amarsons; Dr Anand Shah and Thomas Schickler, Head, Cash Management, HSBC Bank, bagged the top honours. The team of Capt. A.S. Mann, Managing Director, Simran International; Harsh Mariwala, Chairman & MD, Marico; Ashish Pabalkar, Head Sales, Reliance Capital; and Raju Panjwani, Chairman and Joint MD, Omega Capital Advisory Services, came runners-up with 85 points.

The championship is promoted by Business Today, part of The India Today Group and Honda Siel Cars India Ltd., in association with ITC Welcomgroup Hotels, Religare Services, The Venetian Macao, Cleveland Golf, Urban 18 and Teacher's. The official magazine for the event is Golf Digest India.

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