Harendra Gupta holds nerve to win in Chandigarh

harendra guptaChandigarh: Harendra Gupta of Chandigarh shot a sedate one-over-73 in round four to win the PGTI Players Championship at the Chandigarh Golf Club on Friday. Gupta totaled 10-over-278 for the tournament. Vijay Kumar of Lucknow and Delhi’s Shamim Khan were in joint second at nine-under-279.

Harendra Gupta (68-69-68-73), the overnight leader by three strokes, stayed ahead of the rest of the field by making a birdie and eight pars on the front-nine. Harendra sank an 18-feet putt to birdie the sixth. The 28-year-old dropped his first bogey of the day when he missed a chip-putt on the 10th.

However, Gupta continued to be in a commanding position as his nearest rivals Rashid Khan and Shankar Das went out of contention after dropping three strokes and two strokes respectively on the front-nine.

Gupta seemed to have sealed it when he made birdie thanks to a good chip-putt on the 13th. However, a poor tee-shot on the 15thresulted in a double-bogey for the local favourite. Vijay Kumar and Shamim Khan were just one shot behind Gupta at that stage. Harendra then held his nerve and made three pars in a row even as Vijay and Shamim failed to pick up a stroke on the last four holes.

Harendra, who sealed his fifth professional title, said, “My tee shots were very good today but I struggled with my short-game. I tried to play a little safe today and consciously decided not to play an aggressive game. Even after making double-bogey on the 15th, I knew pars on the last three holes will get me home.

“This victory is of great significance to me since I have won a title after a four-year gap. It feels even better that I have won on my home course. This victory will certainly help me in taking my game to another level. The course played really well this week and the fairways and greens were in excellent condition.”

Vijay Kumar (70-75-66-68) with six birdies and two bogeys in the fourth round finished in joint second at nine-under-279 along with Shamim Khan (68-73-69-69) who made three birdies in round four. Vijay sank four birdies in a row from the 11th through the 14th.

Chandigarh golfer Sujjan Singh secured tied fourth place along with Mukesh Kumar of Mhow, Patna’s Md Islam and Sri Lankan Mithun Perera at seven-under-281.

Chandigarh's Angad Cheema, the lone amateur to make the cut, took away the trophy for the best performance by an amateur. Cheema totaled three-over-291 to grab a share of 20th place.

Rahul Bajaj of Noida, who also finished tied 20th, made a hole-in-one on the 11th hole on Friday during his round of 79.

The PGTI Players Championship – Chandigarh will be aired on Ten Sports and Ten Golf.