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Taipei, 08 Oct 2017

AJEETESH SANDHU BREAKS THROUGH ON THE INTERNATIONAL STAGE WITH VICTORY AT YEANGDER TPC

India’s Ajeetesh Sandhu clinched his maiden international title courtesy his breakthrough win on the Asian Tour achieved at the US$500,000 Yeangder Tournament Players Championship (TPC) on Sunday.

Ajeetesh (69-69-68-70), who will be celebrating his 29th birthday on Monday, posted a tournament total of 11-under-277 to prevail over Johannes Veerman of the United States by one shot at the Linkou International Golf and Country Club in Taipei.

Chandigarh lad Sandhu, the overnight joint leader along with Veerman and local favourite Lu Wei-chih, came up with a dogged performance on the final day, sinking three birdies at the expense of a lone bogey during his rock-solid round of two-under-70.

Ajeetesh, a three-time winner on the PGTI, kept his nearest challengers at bay in the latter stages and soaked in the pressure making pars on the last eight holes which included a sand save on the 15th.

Veerman (71) almost forced a play-off when his eagle chip on the 18th hole hit the pin. He had to finally settle for the runner-up position.

Lu (72), the other contender in the final round, dropped a couple of bogeys on the last five holes to end up in third place, two shots behind the champion.

Sandhu, who played a lot of golf alongside Anirban Lahiri and Gaganjeet Bhullar during his junior and amateur days, has now improved upon his previous best of third place on the Asian Tour which he achieved couple of months back at the TAKE Solutions Masters 2017.

Incidentally, Ajeetesh, playing on a country exemption this week, follows in Bhullar’s footsteps to become the second Indian to win the Yeangder TPC. The latter had won the event in 2012.  

Sandhu’s career receives a shot in the arm with this triumph as he not only takes home the impressive prize purse of US$90,000 but also earns a two-year winner’s exemption on the Asian Tour.

An elated Ajeetesh said, “I’m still shaking from the last putt but now that I’m thinking about it, it is absolutely amazing. I thought I would be a lot more nervous than what I was but after I got back to the hotel yesterday (Round 3), I had so much of support pouring in from India. So many people, including people I didn’t know were messaging me. That really calmed me down.

“I’m proud of myself that I was able to focus on my own game. I was just trying to hit the next shot the best that I could and I won.

“There were a lot of turning points. I started off really good. I didn’t birdie the first hole but I played it really well and I birdied two and three. I just played them absolutely perfect. After that I felt so comfortable. Those birdies really made me calm down,” said Sandhu, who accumulated 17 birdies in total against five bogeys this week.

Sandhu, who has gained from playing on the Japan Golf Tour this year, added, “I thought about the win after I hit the drive on 18 because the guys were two shots back. But then my second shot ended up in the bunker and I told myself that you can’t let that thought enter your mind. It does cross your mind but I was pretty sure I had to come back to the present.

“While I was walking up the 18th hole, Johannes Veerman said to me, “Good drive man but you better birdie this hole because I’m going to eagle it.” And his chip for eagle actually hit the flag! He just looked at me and we both laughed. It was great fun playing with him.

“(on Lu Wei-chih) If someone can come back from that (brain surgery), it is just amazing and he is a great champion. The way he handles himself is so respectable. It was amazing to play with him. 

“I have a country exemption on the Asian Tour so missing out on an Asian Tour card wasn’t the biggest disappointment. I was expecting to play in some Asian Tour events this year but with the way the Tour is looking next year, this win couldn’t come at a better time.  

“To be honest, I’ve had a couple of close calls at home but I didn’t get it done. I guess I was saving for this win,” said Ajeetesh, who won on the PGTI earlier this year.

 


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Formed in 2006, Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) is the recognised official body of professional golf in India. PGTI's objective is to promote professional golf in the country, as well as to give players an opportunity to be involved in the decision making on all aspects of the game. Headed by Mr. Gautam Thapar (President), PGTI's governing body comprises leading Indian golf professionals. PGTI currently has over 300 members.

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