Dream comes true for Chiragh Kumar

CHIRAGH KUMAR ISNSingapore: It’s finally Chiragh Kumar’s day as he upstaged the elite cast at the Panasonic Open India to lift his first Asian Tour title by three shots on Sunday.

The 31-year-old Indian, who took home a prize cheque of US$72,000, joined his 2006 Doha Asian Games teammates Anirban Lahiri and Gaganjeet Bhullar in the winner’s circle following his breakthrough victory at the Delhi Golf Club.

“Winning an Asian Tour event means a lot to me. I’ve come close before. This is amazing because I have been playing well in the last month or so. It really means a lot to me to win at the Delhi Golf Club. It is my home course and I’ve been practicing here since I was 12.

“I’ve grown up watching senior players playing here and wanting to be at that stage and experience it. It is like a dream come true. This is the best thing that can happen to me. Everybody know me at this club so it is very special to win,” said the father of one.

Kumar was pleased to see his hard work pay off after working diligently on his game during the off-season. He had secured a joint runner-up finish at the Venetian Macao Open last month prior to his win.

“I was fortunate to put in a lot of hard work in the off season. When I finished second in Macao it was a big confidence boost,” added Kumar, who sits in 12th position on the money list with a current season’s haul of US$179,737.

Kumar also drew on the experience of playing alongside Australian Scott Hend in Macao to make his mark on the region’s premier Tour.

“I played with Scott Hend on the third day. He didn’t have a great round but he played good on the last few holes. I told myself that this is what great players do. They keep grinding it out and never give up. It is not over until it is over. That’s something that I learned. The way he played on the back nine was amazing to see,” Kumar said.

With a one-year exemption safely secured, Kumar can ease his worries of regaining his Tour card for next season. He had narrowly missed out on his full playing rights on the Asian Tour for 2015 after finishing 65th on the Order of Merit last season.

Bangladeshi Siddikur Rahman moved up to 16th place on the Order of Merit following his joint-runner up finish with Thai veteran Thaworn Wiratchant, who sits in a current 40th position on the money list.

The Asian Tour is in Singapore this week for the inaugural World Classic Championship by Laguna National which will feature a total of 144 players from over 23 countries at the Laguna National Golf and Country Club.

Here’s a look at some interesting numbers associated with Chiragh Kumar’s memorable win at the 2015 Panasonic Open India:

  • Chiragh became the 21st Indian to win an international title
  • It was the 70th international event won by an Indian
  • Chiragh’s 1st international win
  • His 5th professional title
  • He became the 4th Indian to win the Panasonic Open India after Anirban Lahiri, Digvijay Singh and SSP Chawrasia
  • It was the 4th international title won by an Indian in 2015 (Anirban Lahiri has won 2 and Chikkarangappa has won 1 this year)
  • Chiragh became the 19th Indian to win on the Asian circuit
  • It was the 54th title won by an Indian on the Asian circuit
  • Chiragh is now the 10th Indian to win an international event at Delhi Golf Club
  • It was the 18th international win by an Indian at the Delhi Golf Club
  • Chiragh now occupies 12th place in the Asian Tour Order of Merit
  • He has moved up from 578 to 311 in the Official World Golf Ranking

Asian Tour Order of Merit (Top-20)

Pos Player Order of Merit (US$)

1. Anirban LAHIRI (IND) 1,139,084.65
2. Scott HEND (AUS) 491,631.66
3. Andrew DODT (AUS) 427,723.75
4. S.S.P. CHAWRASIA (IND) 297,538.75
5. Thongchai JAIDEE (THA) 268,820.13
6. Cameron SMITH (AUS) 234,318.66
7. Richard T. LEE (CAN) 233,547.65
8. Paul PETERSON (USA) 226,404.85
9. Danny CHIA (MAS) 221,753.86
10. Prayad MARKSAENG (THA) 209,645
11. Marcus FRASER (AUS) 197,299.77
12. Chiragh KUMAR (IND) 179,737.5
13. Mardan MAMAT (SIN) 162,882.93
14. Jazz JANEWATTANANOND (THA) 145,800.01
15. Mithun PERERA (SRI) 145,209.06
16. Siddikur RAHMAN (BAN) 143,936.12
17. Carlos PIGEM (ESP) 137,834.52
18. Nathan HOLMAN (AUS) 132,421.09
19. Chapchai NIRAT (THA) 130,733.57
20. Soomin LEE (KOR) 128,108.33