N Thangaraja & Khalin Joshi shine on day three,Kolkata Classic

N Thangaraja & Khalin Joshi shine on day three, surge ahead by one; Ajeetesh Sandhu on the leaders’ tail 
Feroz Singh Garewal achieves rare feat with consecutive eagles 
Kolkata, March 24, 2016: Sri Lankan N Thangaraja was rewarded for producing the day’s best effort of five-under-67 as he grabbed a share of the third round lead at the Kolkata Classic on Thursday. Thangaraja was joined by Bengaluru golfer Khalin Joshi, who struck a three-under-69 in round three, in tied first place at seven-under-209 at the Royal Calcutta Golf Club (RCGC).
Ajeetesh Sandhu of Chandigarh matched Thangaraja’s day’s best of 67 to jump into contention in third place just one shot behind the joint leaders at the Rs. 30 lakh event.
Eighteen-year-old Feroz Singh Garewal, another Chandigarh-based professional, achieved the rare distinction of making consecutive eagles during round three.
N Thangaraja (71-71-67), who began the day in tied eighth, threw his hat in the ring with an error-free 67 at one of his favoured venues. The Colombo resident, fresh from a tied sixth finish at last week’s Indian Open, hit his short-irons and wedges with pin-point precision on Thursday to leave himself four birdie putts within four feet.
“I came to Kolkata with a lot of self-belief having finished inside the top-10 at the Indian Open. What added to my confidence was the fact that I had also done well at the RCGC in the past having posted low scores at the Tour Championship here in 2013 and 2015. I struggled to read the green speed on the first two days but today I read it well and thus put up a low number,” said Thangaraja, a winner of two titles on the PGTI.
The ever-smiling Thangaraja had worked as a tailor in one of the many factories that are a part of Sri Lanka’s thriving garment industry before he took to golf. Thanga, plying his trade on the PGTI for the last four years, has now established himself as a force to reckon with on the circuit. He joins a long line of Sri Lankans such as Anura Rohana, Mithun Perera & K Prabagaran who have not only tasted success in India but also been the driving force for growth of golf in Sri Lanka.
“I aspired to play on the PGTI after seeing my countrymen Anura & Mithun perform well in India and make a good living out of it. Over the last four seasons, I have grown as a player playing on the PGTI. I now believe that I’m ready for the Asian stage after a top performance in the tough field at the Indian Open. I will look to make further improvements in my game this year before once again trying to qualify for the Asian Tour,” added Thanga, who missed out on qualifying for the Asian Tour earlier this year.

Khalin Joshi (71-69-69), also a winner of two titles on the PGTI, made a move from overnight tied fourth to joint first thanks to a timely 69. Joshi landed his wedges within a couple of feet for two birdie tap-ins on the front-nine. He also recovered well from the bunker wall to birdie the 15th after a 20-feet conversion.

Joshi, who had led midway through the final round of last year’s Tour Championship at RCGC before finishing runner-up, said, “I haven’t been closing tournaments well over the last six months. I need to do that on Friday. I’ll need to keep my swing in tempo and just focus on my own game rather than looking at the leaderboard.”

Ajeetesh Sandhu (71-72-67), the winner of PGTI’s last event in Hyderabad, will also be a contender on the final day. He made an outstanding eight birdies during his third round, a record for the week so far, to rise from tied 10th to third at six-under-210.

Ajeetesh said, “I was inside the top-25 at the Indian Open last week despite a four-over start in round one. It was heartening to come back strongly and end the week at six-under. I’m in a good space at the moment, especially after the win in Hyderabad, and would like to make an impact at the Kolkata Classic as well.”

Round two leader Feroz Ali Mollah of Kolkata dropped to tied fourth after his third round of 75. Bengaluru’s C Muniyappa and Gurgaon’s Shubhankar Sharma shared fourth place with Feroz at five-under-211.

Reigning Indian Open champion and local lad SSP Chowrasia scored a 74 to end the day in tied 35th at four-over-220.

Teenager Feroz Singh Garewal produced one the highlights of the day when he achieved one of the rarest feats in golf. He sank back-to-back eagles on the eighth and ninth. What made his achievement even more special was the fact that both his eagles were eagle-twos that came on par-4s.

Garewal had just dropped a triple bogey on the sixth but he came back strong when he holed out from 135 yards on the eighth. He then came up with another unbelievable second shot from 165 yards on the closing ninth that once again found the hole.

Garewal said, “It was unbelievable. I just wanted to keep playing after the second eagle even though I knew my round was over.”

He ended the day with a 73 to be placed tied 39th at five-over-221.

UBA Pro Basketball League Season 2, Hyderabad Leg- Day 2

UBA Pro Basketball League Season 2, Hyderabad Leg- Day 2 Hosts Hyderabad Sky win 2OT Thriller; Chennai outlast Bengaluru
Hyderabad, 24th March 2016: The second and final leg of the United Basketball Alliance (UBA) Pro Basketball League 2016, underway at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium saw home team Hyderabad Sky beat Pune Peshwas in a double OT thriller. Later in the evening, Chennai slam outlasted Bengaluru Beast.

Eminent BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra, and Telugu film actor Sai Dharam Tej were chief guests on the occasion and wished all the participating teams the very best.

Chennai Slam bt Bengaluru Beast 83-76

The second game of day 2 of the Hyderabad leg was between southern contenders Chennai Slam and Bengaluru Beast. Defending champs Chennai and Bengaluru both ended the Pune leg on a 3-2 win-loss record, leaving the race for the semifinal spots from the southern division wide open.

To begin the game, Chennai ran their offense through their frontcourt. Centre Gopal Ram powered past the Beast forwards, draining close bankers and baby hooks in the first quarter. Forward Ashutosh also began the game well earning his points on the freethrow line. Chennai jumped onto a 29-15 start at the end of the first quarter. Shaken, but not stirred, Bengaluru bounced back in the second quarter led by guards Raghuram and Yashas. Both knocked down big triples to cut into Chennai’s lead, which was reduced to 7 by halftime.

The third quarter turned out to be an even scoring affair with both teams playing a fast-paced style and scoring in transition. But Chennai’s big rebounding advantage (47 to 29) hurt the Bengaluru side. Chennai continue to pile up the points in the paint taking and making high-percentage shots. Slam’s Nigerian baller Chukwunanu Agu (18 points and 10 rebounds) found success in his penetration, using his speed and athleticism to finish at the basket. Both teams went on scoring runs, but Chennai always managed to stay over 5 points ahead of Bengaluru.

Bengaluru’s Kaif Zia was aggressive in the second half, leading his team’s comeback, hunting for the lead. Chennai, however, was cool as ever down the stretch, sticking to their game plan of ball movement and open shots. In the end, Chennai stayed clear of Bengaluru with clutch freethrows from Ashutosh and the dagger layup from Agu that sealed Chennai’s 83-76 victory.

Chennai Slam (Gopal Ram 22pts, Chukwunanu Agu 18pts 10 rbs 5asts, Ashutosh Rai 16pts) bt Bengaluru Beast (Kaif Zia 24pts, Raghuram 21pts 6asts, Yashas Ramesh 10pts) 83-76 (29-15, 20-27, 19-20, 15-14)

Hyderabad Sky bt Pune Peshwas 101-97

With the UBA Pro League Season 2 shifting to Hyderabad for its second and final leg, the Pune Peshwas played in front of an away crowd for the first time this tournament today. They were facing the home team Hyderabad Sky who were looking to continue their momentum built towards the end of the Pune leg into Hyderabad.

With both teams sporting strong backcourts, it was a battle of the guards in today’s game. In the first quarter, international guard Narender Grewal was aggressive for the Peshwas looking for his shot driving to the basket. For Hyderabad, international guard Joginder Singh and Sky’s Nigerian centre Edwin Oneh combined well to provide a one-two scoring punch for their team, including a buzzer-beating layup to end the first quarter by Joginder.

Down by 6 points entering the second quarter, Joginder went into another gear finding his touch from long range. Veteran forward Nihal Yadav provided offense off the bench, contributing 8 straight points in the second period. Sky ended up outscoring the Peshwas 30 to 14 in the second quarter and at halftime, the scores were 48-38 with Hyderabad up. It was only international point guard Siddhanth Shinde (33 points) who kept the scoreboard ticking for Pune, being able to penetrate and score.

Shaken up at halftime, Pune Peshwas came out assertive in the third quarter. Narender powered his way to the basket on multiple occasions to either finish in the paint or get to the freethrow line. Pune managed to regain the lead, outscoring Hyderabad 26 to 13 in the third period. The fourth quarter saw both teams trading buckets and the scores remaining neck-and-neck. Sky’s Indian-Australian guard Mahesh Padmanabhan started to find his 3-point touch, hitting two late 3s that kept his team in the game. Towards the end, with a minute left to go in the game and Pune up by 4 points, Hyderabad’s Vijay Kumar hit a clutch transition bucket to cut Pune’s lead down to 2. On the next possession, Joginder just ripped the ball from Pune’s Ajinkya Mane’s hands, which led to a transition play that resulted in Sky’s Monish Wilson getting fouled on a 3-point attempt. He made two out of the three freethrows to tie the game at 79. With one second left on the clock, Pune’s alley-oop attempt faltered and the game went to its first overtime.

In the first OT, both teams were exchanging buckets for the first four minutes. Pune managed to gain a 2-point lead with under a minute left in the game. Sky guard Mahesh coolly banked a runner off the glass to tie the game. The final possessions produced nothing for both teams, leading to a second overtime. This OT belonged to Mahesh Padmanabhan (28 points), who went on a scoring tear, starting with a runner in the lane, followed by two huge triples. He also used the pick-and-roll with his big men to create easy buckets in the paint. Sky managed to close out the thrilling game with a 101-97 finish to take their first game in front of their home crowd this season. Padmanabhan from Sky was deservedly awarded the man of the match.

Hyderabad Sky (Mahesh Padmanabhan 28pts, Joginder Singh 18pts, Edwin Oneh 14pts 10rbs) bt Pune Peshwas (Siddhanth Shinde 33pts 5asts, Narender Grewal 12rbs, Ajinkya Mane 11pts) 101-97 (18-24, 30-14, 13-26, 18-15, 8-8, 14-10)

About the UBA Pro Basketball League

The UBA Pro Basketball League is structured on a league cum knockout basis. Season 2 is being held in two phases: 18 to 28 Feb in Pune (Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex) followed by 23 March to 3 April in Hyderabad (Gachibowli Stadium). There are eight teams in total divided into two divisions: Pune Peshwas, Delhi Capitals, Haryana Gold, Punjab Steelers (North division) and Chennai Slam, Mumbai Challengers, Bengaluru Beast and Hyderabad Sky (South division).  Chennai Slam won the inaugural season last year with Pune Peshwas finishing second.
For more information, visit: www.ubaindia.in/. Facebook: www.facebook.com/ubaindia/. Twitter:  @ubaindia

About United Basketball Alliance India Pvt. Ltd.

The United Basketball Alliance (UBA India) is a next-generation sports branding company. Its main objective is to make sport brands mean something to their sport viewers. To do that, UBA helps brands connect with viewers by providing insight-driven ideas across all media platforms. With respect to its Pro Basketball League, UBA India has already secured primetime television broadcasting arrangements with the Ten Sports Network, and is securing corporate sponsorships for tournament play, and creating merchandising opportunities.

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The Naresh Kumar Sagar Daily

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Happy Holi 2016 to everyone.

Happy Holi 2016 to everyone.
Johnny Sagar's photo.


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