Shankar Das wins IndianOil Masters Golf

Digboi: Shankar Das of Kolkata prevailed over Delhi’s Shamim Khan in a fascinating playoff to retain his title at the IndianOil XtraPremium Masters Golf 2011 at the Digboi Golf Links on Saturday.

The outcome was decided on the second playoff hole after the two players had ended the regulation 72 holes with an identical total of 11 under 277.

Shankar Das (67-69-71-70) fired a clinical final round of two-under 70 before he went into the playoff. The 28-year-old began his title defence with a birdie on the third where he chipped it to within six feet. He hit an equally good chip shot that led to another birdie on the par-five ninth. Das recovered well after a poor second shot on the 11th by firing his third shot from 80 yards to within five feet of the pin to garner his third birdie of the day. He dropped his lone bogey of the day on the 12th.

Shankar played some solid golf over the last six holes with six straight pars even though Shamim Khan had managed to catch up with him. The two golfers headed to a playoff after they were all square at 11 under 277 at the end of 18 holes. Shankar and Shamim made pars on the first playoff hole (18th hole) and therefore squared off once again on the second playoff hole (18th hole once again).

Shankar bagged the third title of his professional career after he converted an eight feet birdie putt on the second playoff hole and Shamim missed his birdie putt from five feet.

Shankar, who took home the winner’s cheque worth Rs. 404,125 to climb from 18th place to 11th position on the 2011 Rolex Rankings, said, “I drove the ball very well today and did not lose grip of the match at any stage. I kept the intensity going till the very end. I also made some good chip-putts. This is a very satisfying victory for me because this is the first time that I have successfully defended a title. I wish to thank my mother, brother, wife and kids for all the support they have given me all these years. I would also like to thank my home club, the Royal Calcutta Golf Club, for their continuous support as they have provided me with practice and playing facilities for many years.”

Shamim Khan (71-71-67-68) gave himself a chance with a flurry of birdies on the seventh, eighth and ninth. Shamim stayed in touch with the leader despite making bogey on the 12th as he made a chip-in for birdie on the very next hole. The birdie on the 15th helped him close the gap on Shankar Das before he finally forced the playoff.

Shamim said, “I started slowly today but recovered well in the middle stages of the round. I couldn’t grab my chances towards the end but nevertheless it feels good to be in contention after such a long time.”

Harendra Gupta of Chandigarh finished third at seven-under 281 after his final round of 71. Sanjay Kumar of Lucknow claimed fourth place with a four under 284 total.