Atwal involved in fatal crash

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> PGA Tour player Arjun Atwal is under investigation after what appeared to be a high-speed street race that ended in a fatal crash, police said.

Updated: March 22, 2007 06:37 IST
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Orlando, Florida:

PGA Tour player Arjun Atwal is under investigation after what appeared to be a high-speed street race that ended in a fatal crash, police said. Atwal, the first player from India on the American golf tour, was not injured in the accident on Saturday at 5:30 pm local time. The other driver, John Noah Park, 48, died at a hospital, Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Kim Miller said on Sunday. No charges have been filed against Atwal. "At a minimum, he is facing a charge of engaging in a street race," Miller said. "We have to see if this crash rises to the level of any other charges." Atwal's wife, Ritika, answered the phone at their Windermere home Sunday. She said her husband wasn't home and declined to talk about the crash. US tour spokesman Ty Votaw said: "Until we learn more, we don't have any comment at this time." The 33-year-old golfer and Park appeared to be racing when they lost control on a curve on a suburban road that is a popular shortcut between the Disney resorts and upscale communities west of Orlando. Atwal's 2006 BMW spun and came to rest on the shoulder. Park's Mercedes slammed into a tree. The cars did not collide, Miller said. Troopers will use skid marks and other evidence to determine how fast the men were going. "Witnesses tell us they were engaged in a street race," Miller said. "They estimated speeds at or about 100 mph (160 kph). Park's vehicle hit a tree and basically just shattered. Part of the axle was found in the tree. It was a very violent crash." Atwal was the first Indian-born player to win on the European tour when he captured the 2002 Singapore Masters by five shots. He went to US tour qualifying school a year later and earned his card. He nearly won a US tour event two years ago. He was in Bali on his honeymoon in March 2005 when his parents warned him of impending storms, so he and his wife headed for their Florida home. Because the BellSouth Classic in Atlanta began late that week, he got into the tournament and wound up in a five-man playoff. Atwal was eliminated on the first extra hole of the tournament, won by Phil Mickelson. He struggled last year and finished 140th on the American tour order of merit, failing to keep full-exempt status on the tour. Atwal has played only three times this year, finishing in a tie for 36th at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and missing the cut the last two weeks in Mexico and the Honda Classic. Atwal was not eligible to play again until the Houston Open at the end of the month.

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