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Rose beats Singh in BILT Skins Game

Englishman Justin Rose Sunday upset world no. 1 Vijay Singh of the US to win the $42,000 BILT Skins 2004 trophy here.

The Fijian-born Vijay actually finished third, behind Sweden's India-born Daniel Chopra, who won $35,500 at the DLF Gold and Country Club on the outskirts of New Delhi.

But world no. 16 Todd Hamilton failed to make a mark in the four-player tourney, played on a bright afternoon and cheered by thousands of fans.

In the Skins format, players compete at each hole for a certain amount of prize money. A player must win a hole outright to win the prize money, which varies from hole to hole.

If there is no clear winner at a hole, the prize money gets carried forward.

Rose won the second, third, fifth, eighth, 12th, 13th and 15th holes to collect a total of $42,500.

Chopra, son of an Indian father and Swedish mother who learnt his golf in New Delhi, did not win any money on the front nine holes, but regained form on the back nine, winning the 11th and 17th holes, both of which had carried-over prize money.

Vijay, who had won the BILT Skins 2002 tournament on his first visit to India, won the first, the sixth and the last 18th hole, which was replayed because no one won it initially.

Hamilton, 39, was the only player who did not win a single hole.

After taking over the Swarovski-designed crystal trophy, 24-year-old Rose told the media that he would like to return next year to defend the title.

He also talked about his biggest ambition as a golfer. "It will be sad if I didn't win the Green Jacket (one day)," he said about one of the most sought after prizes in the game.

The players were followed by about 3,000 invited spectators, surprising Hamilton who last came to India more than a decade ago.

"I was (surprised) by the number of people present today," the gangling golfer said. "I think there were more people today than when (India's) Ali Sher won the Indian Open in 1991 (at the Delhi Golf Club)."

Gautam Thapar, vice chairman and managing director of Ballarpur Industries Limited that sponsored the event, told newsmen the company would sponsor the event next year as well.

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