Bengaluru: India’s Khalin Joshi bagged his career-best Asian Tour finish, a second place, at the inaugural TAKE Solutions Masters, a US$300,000 event co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and PGTI. Joshi posted a valiant final round of four-under-67 at his home course, the Karnataka Golf Association (KGA), to end up with a total of 14-under-270, two behind champion Poom Saksansin of Thailand.
Khalin Joshi (68-67-68-67), whose previous best on the Asian Tour was tied second at the 2015 Bashundhara Bangladesh Open, went one better with his lone second finish in front of his home crowd on Sunday.
Joshi, who trailed leader Poom by two shots after round three, couldn’t get past the latter on the final day as both players came up with rounds of 67 on Sunday. Poom dominated the tournament leading from round one till round four.
The 24-year-old Khalin, who has three wins under his belt on the PGTI, had a promising start to round four as he made three birdies on the first six holes which included a chip-in on the fifth.
But two poor approach shots on the seventh and ninth resulted in bogeys for Joshi and even the birdie on the 10th couldn’t make up for those losses. The bogey on 14 almost saw Khalin’s chances of victory disappear.
He then made a brave charge with three birdie conversions from 10 to 20 feet on the last four holes. However, it was a little too late as Poom too delivered birdies on the 16th and 17th to drive home the advantage.
Khalin, who climbed from 84th to 38th on the Asian Tour Order of Merit post his runner-up finish, said, “The runner-up finish sets me up for the second half of the Asian Tour season. I’ve asked for a few invites in the second half, so hopefully I’ll get them and can make good use of them and improve on my standing in the Asian Tour.
“I knew there will be a lot of birdie opportunities going into the back-nine as I have also traditionally played better on the back-nine. I just had to make birdies and put pressure on him. I did put pressure on him on the 15th hole but he played pretty solid towards the end to take it through and be the rightful winner. Hopefully, I can have a week like he did, sometime in the near future.
“My friend Shubhankar Sharma told me that the seventh and ninth holes would be the key in the final round and I ended up making bogeys on both. On both the seventh and ninth, I followed up great tee shots with a couple of poor approach shots. Those two errors cost me dearly. But overall, I’m really happy with the way I fought as I put myself in contention going into the last few holes. Hopefully, I can carry this performance forward.”
India’s Ajeetesh Sandhu (69-72-67-66) carded a creditable 66, the day’s joint best score, which pushed him up from overnight tied eighth to third place at 10-under-274. He thus equaled his previous best result on the Asian Tour which came at the SAIL Open 2011.
The Indian duo of Divyanshu Bajaj (69) and Abhinav Lohan (69) shared fourth place with Indonesia’s Rory Hie at nine-under-275. As a result, Divyanshu and Abhinav also recorded their best ever results on the Asian Tour.
The presence of Honey Baisoya (67) and Rahil Gangjee (68) in tied eighth at seven-under-277 and of Chikkarangappa (73) in tied 10th at six-under-278 made it a total of seven Indians with top-10 finishes.
Among the other prominent Indian names, Jyoti Randhawa was tied 16th at five-under-279, Shiv Kapur finished tied 20th at four-under-280, Shubhankar Sharma claimed tied 26th at three-under-281, Gaganjeet Bhullar posted a tied 29th at two-under-282, SSP Chawrasia ended tied 43rd at one-over-285 and Chiragh Kumar was tied 48th at three-over-287.