LAHORE Top golfers of the country are assembling at the Royal Palm Golf and Country Club here to display their skills in the Aquafina-sponsored 4th Royal Palm Amateur Golf Team Trophy and Challenge Shield. The championship which promises tough competition among 140 expected participants, will see them play on gross, net, team event and individual efforts from March 5 (Friday, today) to March 7. Even ladies having handicap of 36 would have their a fair chance in two days. Jameel said that even in the absence of Safdar, the activity carries several tough campaigners and they would surely make the challenging and rough Royal Palm courses fairways and greens look even. Lt Gen (Retd) Mohammad Tariq, Captain golf, Royal Palm, Imran Anjum of Pepsi Cola International, the sole sponsor of the tournament, Khawaja Pervaiz Saeed, director media and Mrs Ayesha Salman flanked Jameel at the other side of the head table. Jameel said that the golf clubs from around the country will be allowed to send two teams each consisting of four players per team. All the cubs of the country will be represented in the team championship. Two teams have been fielded by the major clubs like; Lahore Gymkhana, Lahore Garrison Golf & Country Club, Rawalpindi Golf Club, Multan Golf Club, Islamabad Golf Club, PAF Peshawar Golf Club, PAF Islamabad, Okara Golf Club, Gujranwala Golf & Country Club, DHA Golf & Country Club Karachi and the host Royal Palm Golf & Country Club. The other clubs have sent a team each. On each day of play, the best three gross scores of each team will be counted towards the final aggregate team total at the end of three days of tournament play. In the event of a tie in team score, the score of fourth player of last, second and first day, in that order, will be counted till tie breaks. If tie still persists spin of the coin will decide the champion team, he added. In the individual competitions for the Gross Cup that will be played on March 5-7 (54 holes), only players with a handicap of 12 and below are eligible to participate, he said. He further stated that running in conjunction with the main Team Trophy, the Gross Cup will be played over the three tournament days. The previous winner, Muhammad Safdar, from Gujranwala Golf & Country Club is not competing because he is representing Pakistan in the Bangladesh Amateur Golf Tournament. In addition Au Hai (Karachi), Mohd Rehman of Royal Palm and M Tariq Mehmood from Islamabad are also in Bangladesh. However with the participation of players like Taimur Hassan (Islamabad), Hamza Amin (Islamabad), Aimal Zaman (Peshawar), Azhar Majeed (Peshawar), Col (Retd) M Saud Khan (Peshawar), Maj (Retd) Shuaib-udddin (Peshawar), Aleem ur Rehman (GYM), Danyal Janghir (GYM), Zulfiqar Ali (Multan) and Waseem Rana (DHA Karachi) all having a handicap 3 and below golf scores of excellence are expected and competition is likely to be intense. In addition other prominent names participating in the event are Sardar Murad(RP), Shoaib Bokhari, Mohsin Zafar, Col Asif Mehdi, Sohail Rana, Amir Mehmood (RP), along with up-coming youngsters having 4 handicap in Haider Attique, Waqas Khan, Zohaib Asif and Abdul Zahoor. Also there are many other hopefuls looking forward to demonstrate their golf playing abilities. Another major event, he said, the Challenge Shield featured on March 5 and 6 on 36 holes, will be played on net score. In this event also players with handicap of 12 and below are eligible. The shield will be contested on the first two days of the tournament. Based on handicap scores, a wide range of players will be in contention for this title. The last years winner, Azfar Hasan (Royal Palm) will not only be representing his club in the main team match, but will also have one eye on back to back victories in the Challenge Shield event. Among the ladies skillful golf is expected from Mrs Tahira Nazir (RWP) Mrs Asma Shami (Gar), Tahmina Rashid (GYM), Mrs Samia Javed Ali and Kashifa Zaffar, Nushmiya Sukhera and Maryama Khan (defending champion are from GYM. Talking about the course, Jameel said that in the yardage of 6820, the first nine holes are 3400 yards and the back nine are 3420 yards. The water hazards are one of the major challenge while the 47 bunkers would also test the accuracy and skills of the competitors. On his part, Imran gave some details of the his company and the bottled water Aquafina. Speaking on the occasion, Lt Gen (Retd) Mohammad Tariq said that Royal Palm continues to provide excellent sporting facilities like golf, tennis, squash, swimming, gymnasium, foot ball and jogging etc and also most palatable cuisine which have always delighted our members and guests. We are committed to sporting excellence and every summer we hold camps for juniors so that the young ones can also be trained and any visible talent can be further groomed in order to produce sportsmen 'who can excel in competitions, he added. The tournament has been an annual event of the golf calendar but was abandoned in 2000. Royal Palm Golf & Country Club re-introduced the event in 2006 based on the previous format. A special feature of this event is that it is the only one of its kind in the National Golf Calendar, where club teams get an opportunity to compete against each other in an effort to bring honours to their parent Club, said he.