Ahmedabad: Playing the Gujarat Kensville Challenge for the first time – he missed the event last year - Rahil Gangjee is hoping to feed off the positive energy of a sensational final round of nine-under 63 that propelled him to tied second at the Asian Tour Qualifying School Final Stage. He finished in a tie for second place with American Dodge Kemmer, who is also here this week at the Gujarat Kensville Challenge 2012, and two others at 12-under. They were two behind winner, David Lipsky (US) in Thailand.
Also here in Ahmedabad this week is Kunal Bhasin, an Indian with an Australian passport. Bhasin, who made the Gujarat Kensville through the qualifiers in NOIDA earlier this month, was tied 16th at Asian Tour Q-School Final Stage. Bhasin shot six-under 282 in Thailand.
On a comeback trail
A bunch of players, including Shiv Kapur, who narrowly missed out on keeping this European Tour card late last year, are here in Gujarat Kensville this week. Shiv Kapur, winner of 2005 Volvo Masters of Asia, finished 121st, while John Parry, winner of the 2010 Vivendi Cup, was 126th. Parry’s compatriot Robert Dinwiddie is also on the comeback trail this week, after finishing 141st in Europe last year. The 2009 Challenge Tour champion Daniel Gaunt of Australia finished one place behind Dinwiddie in the Money List and he begins the year in Ahmedabad.
Three players with European Tour cards for 2012
Germany’s Berndt Ritthammer, who finished 34th in the 2011 Challenge Tour rankings, got his European Tour card for the 2012 season finishing 15th at the 2011 Qualifying School Final Stage at PGA Catalunya in December – that despite a five over par 77 in the sixth and final round.
Meanwhile, American Scott Pinckney claimed his place in The 2012 Race to Dubai in dramatic fashion after a stunning performance on the final day of Qualifying School. Having started the final day in a tie for 66th place on one-under par, Pinckney fired a joint best-of-the-day round of 65 to climb inside the qualifying mark on eight under par and take the 24th card. That completed a remarkable rise, the 22 year old having successfully negotiated all three stages of the Qualifying School after turning professional in July 2011.
Austria’s HP Bacher turned professional in 2009 and played on the Challenge Tour for the following two years, finishing 142nd in the Rankings in 2010 and 119th in 2011 but took the 31st card at Qualifying School, having birdied two of the final three holes of his fourth round to just make the cut.
Four players from top-10 of GKC 2011
Even as home hero Gaganjeet Bhullar returns to Kensville Golf and Country Club to defend his title 12 months after becoming the first Indian to win on the Challenge Tour. Bhullar finished one shot ahead of Englishman Matt Ford who is also back hoping to go one better this year. Also returning this year after placing in the top ten at 2011’s inaugural staging is Sweden’s Klas Eriksson and Austria’s Florian Praegant, who finished seventh and eighth last season.