Abhijit Chadha canters home to five-stroke win at BILT Open

BILT Open 2015 Prize Presentation PictureMewat, Haryana: Chandigarh’s Abhijit Singh Chadha bagged his second professional title after he cantered home to a five-stroke win at the BILT Open 2015. Chadha brought in a card of three-under-69 in the final round on Friday to end the week with a total of 16-under-272 at the Classic Golf & Country Club. Ajeetesh Sandhu, another Chandigarh golfer, who shot the day’s best of six-under-66, finished tied second along with Om Prakash Chouhan of Mhow at 11-under-277 at the Rs. 1 crore event.

Chadha pocketed a cheque worth Rs. 15 lakh for his win this week that helped him climb from 30th place to number one position in the Rolex Rankings. He now has total earnings of Rs. 17,91,165 for the 2015 PGTI season. Veteran Mukesh Kumar of Mhow is placed second at Rs. 17,40,350.

Abhijit Singh Chadha (68-70-65-69), the overnight leader by two shots, strung together five birdies and two bogeys in round four to take home his first piece of silverware in over three years. The 24-year-old Abhijit had a quiet but steady front-nine as he made pars on the first eight holes. Chadha, well clear of the rest of the field over the first eight, began to gather steam with birdies on the ninth and 10th where he hit a couple of outstanding approach shots.

Abhijit, who won his last title on the PGTI in 2012 in Nepal, started pulling away from the rest as he produced some top-class chip-putt birdies on the 12th, 14th and 15th. The three-putt bogey on the 13th came against the run of play. He then went on to register a comfortable win despite a closing bogey on the 18th.

“I felt quite relaxed out there today. I didn’t feel too much pressure. I had a steady start as I hit most of the greens on the front-nine despite the tough and windy conditions. However, the putts didn’t drop for me in the first half. Nonetheless, I hung in there. No one really challenged my lead today so I knew I just needed to be patient,” said Chadha.

He added, “Last week also I was leading going into the final round but I couldn’t capitalize on it as I had a poor last day of the tournament. I knew I was playing well but nothing really worked for me in round four in Jaipur. However, I put that behind me and didn’t let it affect me this week.

“My father Mr. Mandeep Singh Chadha has been a big influence on me. He’s the reason I started playing golf. I was delighted that he was here to witness my victory today.

“This win is a huge boost for me as I prepare for some big events on the Asian Tour in the coming weeks.”

Ajeetesh Sandhu (73-72-66-66) fired a second straight 66 to leapfrog from overnight tied 11th to tied second in the final round. Ajeetesh made seven birdies and a bogey in his last round effort which included birdies on the last three holes.

Ajeetesh said, “I’ve played well last two weeks. It was nice to shoot 12-under over the last two days here. My putting was better than the previous event. I hit it pretty close today and had three tap-in birdie putts.”

Om Prakash Chouhan (70-71-66-70), who was overnight tied third, produced a magical eagle-two en route to his 70 as he claimed tied second place. Chouhan holed his approach from 135 yards on the par-4 seventh for eagle.

C Muniyappa of Bengaluru slipped from overnight second place to fourth position after his final round of 73 that took his total to 10-under-278.

Fifth place was shared between Bengaluru golfer Udayan Mane, Delhi’s Arjun Singh, Shankar Das of Kolkata and Deepinder Singh Kullar of Gurgaon.