It is that time of the year when the national golf scene shifts to Karachi. Starting early next month, the country’s top professionals and amateurs will start assembling in the city to play a series of events that will offer a combined prize purse of over ten million rupees.
Spearheaded by Shabbir Iqbal, inarguably the national circuit’s biggest gun, the pros will lock horns for supremacy in the country’s richest golf event – the UMA 20th Chief of Naval Staff Open Golf Championship.
The CNS Open carrying at stake a prize basket of Rs six million will be played at the picturesque course of the iconic Karachi Golf Club from August 6-9. The four-day championship will mark the start of the lucrative Karachi leg of the national golf circuit.
As usual, Shabbir Iqbal will be the man to beat at the CNS Open in which the pros will be battling it out for the prestigious trophy along with a cash purse of Rs5.5 million that will be distributed among the top-40 golfers. The Islamabad golfer is the defending champion and will be facing a host of challengers in his quest for yet another CNS Open crown.
One of the local pros capable of stopping Shabbir from retaining the title is Waheed Baloch. The experienced golfer won the CNS Open in 2013 and will be looking forward to regaining the crown next month.
“The CNS Open is one of the most prestigious titles in national golf and I will be going all out to win it back,” Baloch told ‘The News on Sunday’.
“I’ve been training hard and my form is good which is why I’m confident of doing well in the championship,” added Baloch, who is Karachi’s top pro. He will have the additional advantage of playing on his home course – KGC.
The CNS Open will be followed by the Sindh Open Golf Championship. The three-day event will be played at the Arabian Sea Country Club from August 14-16. It might not be as lucrative as the CNS Open but with a prize purse of Rs2.5 million it is all set to attract the leading names of Pakistan golf.
“The Sindh Open is certainly one of the most important events on the list for all the national golfers,” said Baloch.
Ask Asad I.A Khan, the president of the Sindh Golf Association (SGA) and he will tell you that the event’s hosts are leaving no stone unturned in their bid to make the 17th Sindh Open a big success.
“We have been making all out efforts to ensure yet another successful and memorable Sindh Open,” Asad told TNS. “The venue is coming back into good shape, the weather is good and the list of participants is a solid one. We are confident that the championship will produce some exciting contests,” added Asad, a former managing director of Nespak.
The golf scene will move from the Arabian Sea Country Club to Defence Authority Country and Golf Club which will host the prestigious Independence Day Cup Golf Championship from August 21-23.
“The Independence Day Cup is one of the most important events on our club’s calendar and we will make sure that all possible steps are taken to make it a grand success,” Brigadier Tariq Rafique, the DACGC secretary told TNS.
Last year, it was Shabbir Iqbal who romped to a convincing four-shot triumph in the Independence Day Cup.