Greater Noida, 26-10-2013

Rashid Khan edges out Angad Cheema in a playoff to win the BILT Open

Rashid climbs to the top of Rolex Rankings

Delhi’s Rashid Khan defeated rookie Angad Cheema of Panchkula in a playoff to win the BILT Open 2013 at the Jaypee Greens Golf Resort in Greater Noida. Rashid and Angad headed for the playoff after ending the regulation 72 holes with identical totals of 16-under-272. Rashid finally prevailed on the second playoff hole.

Rashid Khan (64-68-69-71), the overnight leader by one stroke, had an eventful start to the day as he made birdie-bogey-birdie on the second, third and fourth holes. Rashid’s three-putt on the third was followed by a fabulous up and down from 120 yards on the fourth. Khan, the wire-to-wire leader from round one till the end, sank birdie putts from 10 to 15 feet on the 11th and 13th to maintain a slender one shot lead over nearest competitor SSP Chowrasia.

Rashid hit a rough patch from the 14th to the 16th. A wrong club-selection resulted in a bogey for him on the 14th. He then dropped another stroke after finding the trees on the 16th and ended the day with a one-under-71.

Angad Cheema (69-69-68-66), who ended round three in third place, made seven birdies against a lone bogey in the final round to post a 66 and take the match into a playoff. Cheema, a winner on the Feeder Tour in 2013, rolled in birdie putts from eight to 15 feet on the second, fourth and 10th before dropping his only bogey of the day on the 11th. 

The 23-year-old sank a 15-footer on the 13th and chipped-in on the 17th on his way to a four-birdie burst on the last six holes. Angad thus joined Rashid in the playoff even as Chowrasia’s challenge faded away after he posted a 71 on the final day.

Rashid and Angad made pars on the first playoff hole. Rashid then sealed it with another par on the second playoff hole after Angad found the water with his tee shot. 

The 22-year-old Rashid thus bagged his fourth professional title and climbed from fifth to first position on the Rolex Rankings. His victory at the BILT Open earned him a handsome cheque worth Rs. 16,16,500 and took his total earnings for the year to Rs. 27,32,209. The Delhi-based professional now enjoys a healthy lead of about 10 lakh over second-placed Mukesh Kumar in the rankings.

Rashid, who was the runner-up at last year’s BILT Open, said, “It’s great to finally win in a playoff. I had lost the last three playoffs I was involved in, including one at last year’s BILT Open. All these losses were quite heart-breaking. I’ve finally broken the jinx. Climbing to the top spot in the Rolex Rankings has really fired me up for the rest of the season.

“Twenty-under was my target as I began the round. I started well with a couple of good up and downs on the second and fourth. I then struggled from the 14th to the 16th before making a good par-save from the bunker on the 17th. I was very focussed during the playoff and struck it well and that helped me cross the line,” added Rashid.

Angad Cheema’s commendable runner-up finish helped him rise from 20th place to fourth position on the Rolex Rankings. Cheema has now also overtaken Chikkarangappa as the leader in the Emerging Player of the Year race. 
Cheema said, “I made a lot of crucial birdie and par putts today that kept me going. I was very comfortable playing alongside Rashid in the leader group as both of us played a lot of golf together when we were amateurs. This is an outstanding result for me as it is my best finish as a professional so far. The fact that I performed so well competing against some big names and soaked the pressure, has given me a huge boost.”

Kolkata’s SSP Chowrasia (70-65-67-71), who was overnight second, was in touch with the leader Rashid after his two birdies on the first 10 holes. However, he dropped out of the race after his bogey on the 16th and finally finished one stroke behind Rashid and Angad at 15-under-273 to claim third place.

Chandigarh’s Harendra Gupta (11-under-277) and Rahil Gangjee (10-under-278) of Kolkata finished fourth and fifth respectively.

Jyoti Randhawa finished tied 12th at five-under-283.

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