PGTI Players C’ship: Khalin Joshi savours thrilling playoff win; Chiragh finishes 2nd

Khalin Joshi PGTIMewat, Haryana: Bengaluru’s Khalin Joshi savoured a thrilling playoff victory over Delhi’s Chiragh Kumar at the Rs. 30 lakh PGTI Players Championship at the Classic Golf & Country Club on Friday.

Khalin Joshi (68-65-67-70) and Chiragh Kumar (70-65-66-69) were involved in a playoff after both finished the regulation 72 holes with matching totals of 18-under-270. Khalin finally nailed a decisive birdie on the first playoff hole to take home the winner’s cheque worth Rs. 4,50,000.

Earlier in the day, Chiragh Kumar, lying overnight second and one off the lead, took the honours on the front-nine as he scored four birdies thanks to some excellent putting to establish a substantial three-stroke lead over Khalin.

But the contest took an exciting turn after a two and a half hour rain delay, as Khalin, who could only manage a birdie and a bogey on the front-nine, fought back with three consecutive birdies on the 12th, 13th and 14th to draw level with Chiragh. Joshi made a chip-in on the 13th.

There was more drama to follow as Chiragh and Khalin both dropped a bogey each on the 16th and 17th respectively. Both players made pars on the 18th and the deadlock resulted in a playoff.

Khalin, who celebrated his 24th birthday earlier on Thursday, finally sealed his third PGTI win with a five feet birdie conversion on the first playoff hole. He thus moved up from 10th to fifth place in the Rolex Ranking.

“It’s a highly satisfying win for me since the course conditions were tough due to the rain on the last two days. I’ve also won on the PGTI after a long gap so it’s all the more special. Hopefully, I can now get my Asian Tour season back on track,” said Khalin.

He added, “I came into this week carrying forward my good hitting form from last week in Noida. I didn’t really feel the pressure today. I felt the stoppage due to rain helped me today. I wasn’t really swinging well before the rain delay. But during the stoppage of play I got in a good warm up session and got my swing going.

“I feel I’m in a good mental frame at the moment and looking forward to the second half of the season.”

Gurgaon’s Karan Pratap Singh, the lone amateur to make the cut, won the trophy for the best performance by an amateur. His total score of five-over-293 placed him overall tied 40th.

Bengaluru’s Chikkarangappa S ended of the week with a flourish as he drained birdies on his last four holes to shoot the final day’s best score of eight-under-64. The reigning Rolex Ranking champion thus finished third at 17-under-271.

Delhi’s Rashid Khan finished fourth at 13-under-275.