Arjun Atwal gave himself a Christmas present while finally shrugging off a bad patch of form to win the USD 500,000 Dubai Open in style. The 41-year-old Kolkattan signed off with a birdie to emerge as the winner by a stroke over Korean Wang Jeung-hunat the Els Club here on Sunday.
Atwal carded a final round 66 for a 72-hole total of 16-under 272 to take home the winner’s cheque of USD 90,000 but more importantly boosted his confidence level which has now put him back on winning ways. Excerpts from the interview:
Q. Long time between Asian Tour wins, how does this feel?
ARJUN ATWAL: This one feels really special. I think the last time I won on the Asian Tour was 2008. I've gone through some really tough times the last few years with injuries and losing my card on the PGA TOUR and all that stuff. It was at a point where I almost wanted to quit. Thanks to a few of my family and friends, I didn't, and here we are.
Q. You had a tough day on Thursday but then you managed to bounce back with three fantastic rounds. Did you change anything?
ARJUN ATWAL: I just found a little something in my putting. I adjusted to something that I used to do because the greens in Asia are a little bit slower than the ones I'm used to on the PGA TOUR. Just making that adjustment got me rolling the ball a little bit better, so made some putts.
Q. There were about 13 people in contention at the start of the day. Were you keeping an eye on the leaderboard through the day?
ARJUN ATWAL: No, because we had such a quick start. I figured that for starting, we were all the whole group was 3 under through five or six holes and I thought it was going to be between us.
Q. Just take us back to 17. Just talk us through that hole. You must be feeling for Wang.
ARJUN ATWAL: I do. I really do. He's a great young player. I couldn't believe he's only 19. He's old enough to be my son.
Yeah, he had it pretty much locked up. He did the right thing. He hit it in the middle of the green and then missed that short putt. And I hit it absolutely in the wrong spot and somehow managed actually I almost made par. But it's a tough loss for him but I'm sure he's going to win a lot.
Q. Obviously it's the end of the season for you but it must be giving you a nice boost doing into next year. What are your plans?
ARJUN ATWAL: I don't know. But I have to ask for invites anymore on the Asian Tour anymore which is a good thing. This is my fifth invite in a row and I would like to thank all the sponsors on the Asian Tour that have given me an opportunity to play, and especially golf in DUBAi here, giving me an invite. It's been great.