Ahmedabad: Kolkata’s Shankar Das delivered a resolute final round performance of one-under-71 to triumph by one shot at the Kensville Open 2017 presented by PGTI. Das, who signed off with a tournament total of 13-under-275 at the pristine Kensville Golf & Country Club in Ahmedabad on Friday, returned to winning ways after almost two years.
Noida’s Amardip Sinh Malik finished a close second at 12-under-276 having posted a fourth round score of one-under-71 at the Rs. 40 lakh event.
Delhi’s Shamim Khan (68) and Chandigarh’s Ajeetesh Sandhu (71) shared third place at nine-under-279.
Shankar Das (68-70-66-71), the overnight leader by one shot, outperformed his nearest rival Amardip Sinh Malik on Friday to bag his seventh career title. Shankar, with three birdies and a lone bogey on the front-nine, controlled the match at the turn with a three-shot lead.
But Shankar’s bogey on the 11th resulted in a two-shot swing in favour of Amardip and reduced the former’s lead to one stroke. Shankar then regained his grip on the match with consecutive birdies on the 13th and 14th.
Das did have a few anxious moments at the end as he bogeyed the 16th and Malik birdied the 17th. Shankar was in trouble on the 18th as well after finding the bunker twice. But the Kolkata lad soaked in the pressure and managed to seal it with a creditable bogey on the last where Amardip missed a birdie by a whisker.
Shankar, who took home the winning cheque of Rs. 6 lakh, has now moved up from 10th to seventh in the PGTI Order of Merit.
Das said, “The opening-hole birdie, where I chipped-in, proved to be lucky for me once again. I was in control throughout as I didn’t let go of the lead at any stage. On the 11th, Amardip got close but when it swung back in my favour on the 12th, I knew I just had to play steady to win.
“On the 18th I found the bunker lip and Amardip also had a tough lie. I knew he will not make birdie from that position, so I had decided to go for par. There was little pressure on me when I found the bunker again. But I was lucky to win with a two-putt since Amardip’s birdie putt, which could’ve taken the game into a playoff, stopped just short of the hole.
“This win is huge for me as I’ve won after a long gap. My family back home has been expecting me to win for a long time, especially my two kids. My victory will make them really happy.
“I was exceptional off the tee this week, especially with the 3-wood. I hit most fairways and my approach shots were terrific as I hardly missed any greens this week. The consistent chipping and putting also contributed to my win. I feel I’m getting back to where I was in 2014 when I won the PGTI Order of Merit. I now have loads of confidence heading into the next few events.”
Amardip Sinh Malik (69-67-69-71), who came up with three birdies and two bogeys in his final round, put up a stiff challenge against Shankar in the latter stages of the day. Malik’s runner-up finish at Kensville, his best of the season, lifted him from 31st to 11th place in the PGTI Order of Merit.
Amardip said, “I’m gutted to not have won despite giving it my all. I missed out on a number of opportunities today and that contributed towards swinging the match in Shankar’s favour. I couldn’t convert four birdie chances from within five feet on the first six holes. My chip-in attempt for eagle on the 17th just lipped out. My birdie chip on the final hole fell just one roll short.
“Nonetheless, I’ll look to carry forward my good form from here on. I’m happy with the progress I’ve made with my golf swing. That’s another big take-away from this week.”
Shamim Khan, who was tied third, continues to lead the PGTI Order of Merit, while Ajeetesh Sandhu, who also took a share of third place at Kensville, moved up from third to second position in the money list.
Delhi-based Himmat Singh Rai took fifth place at eight-under-280.
Jamshedpur’s Karan Taunk produced the best round of the tournament, a seven-under-65. He closed the week in tied 22nd place at one-over-289.
The two local amateurs, Varun Parikh (five-over-293) and Anshul Patel (17-over-305), were placed tied 32nd and 62nd respectively.