Coimbatore: Delhi golfer Harshjeet Singh Sethie saved his best for the last as his gallant effort of five-under 67, the eventful final day’s lowest score, took him into a playoff where he upstaged the experienced Om Prakash Chouhan of Mhow by driving his way to his maiden title at the Rs. 1 crore Coimbatore Open 2023 presented by KGiSL played at the Coimbatore Golf Club.
The 21-year-old Harshjeet (69-67-72-67), who stands tall at a towering height of six feet and seven inches, collected the winning cheque worth Rs. 15,00,000 to skyrocket 70 spots from 81st to 11th position in the TATA Steel PGTI Rankings.
Om Prakash Chouhan (67-71-68-69), who like Sethie also totaled 13-under 275 for the week before losing out on the second playoff hole to the latter, further consolidated his lead on the PGTI’s money list with his runner-up finish that earned him a cheque worth Rs. 10,00,000.
Harshjeet Singh Sethie, lying overnight fifth and four off the lead, began his day with a bogey-birdie on the first two holes before he made one and all sit up and take notice with his eagle on the 11th and birdies on the ninth, 10th and 13th. The pro from the Delhi Golf Club drove the par-4 11th green before sinking a 15-footer there for an eagle-two. After a bogey on the 14th, Harshjeet drove the green on the par-4 15th to set up another birdie.
Sethie, playing his third season as a pro and struggling in the first half of 2023 making just two cuts out of eight starts, then met PGTI Order of Merit leader Om Prakash Chouhan in the playoff who had shot five birdies and two bogeys for his 69 on Friday. Om Prakash, a winner earlier this year, had begun the final round being two off the lead in tied second place.
After both players made pars on the first playoff hole, the second playoff hole saw Harshjeet unleash yet another sensational drive on the par-4 18th that found the green where the yardage read 395 yards. This led to huge cheers from the crowd as it left Sethie with a 15-feet eagle putt.
Sethie finally registered a huge upset when he made a two-putt for birdie to win even as Chouhan, the favourite going into the playoff, missed his birdie putt from six feet. Om Prakash has now lost two playoffs out of two, both at Coimbatore. The 2023 PGTI season as a result got its 10th winner in as many events.
An elated Harshjeet said, “This week I drove and putted really well. In the playoff, I knew ‘OP’ (Om Prakash Chouhan) would hit a wedge into the green so I could end it with one good drive. I went for it as the adrenaline too played its part. I got the just reward for my aggressive approach as I drove the 18th green for the first time this week.
“I had been struggling with my game before I went and consulted my coach Jesse Grewal in Chandigarh during the off-season. While in Chandigarh, where I spent a lot of time over the last three months, I worked hard on my fitness, swing and mindset that helped turn things around for me. I kept my focus on the process. I played it shot by shot last week in Chennai and that worked for me.
“I thank my parents, my coach and my fitness trainer for all their support. This win means a lot to me as it came in such tough conditions and I won in a playoff against a far more experienced opponent.”
Sri Lankan N Thangaraja (71), Bengalureans Mari Muthu R (71) and Aryan Roopa Anand (74) as well as Delhi-based Saptak Talwar (73) took tied third place at eight-under 280.
Gurugram’s Manish Thakran, the third round leader by two shots, finished 10th at four-under 284.
275: Harshjeet Singh Sethie (69-67-72-67) – Winner in Playoff; Om Prakash Chouhan (67-71-68-69)
280: N Thangaraja (66-68-75-71); Mari Muthu R (70-71-68-71); Saptak Talwar (66-69-72-73); Aryan Roopa Anand (66-68-72-74)