New Delhi, 10-11-2013
Siddikur wins 50th Hero Indian Open, Chowrasia & Lahiri tied for second
Chiragh & Rashid secure 2014 Asian Tour cards with tied fourth finish
SSP Chowrasia fell five feet short of landing his maiden Hero Indian Open and his first Asian Tour titles since 2011 and Anirban Lahiri failed to keep his love-affair going with the Delhi Golf Club even as Bangladeshi Siddikur claimed a nerve-wracking one-stroke victory at the 50th Hero Indian Open on Sunday.
It was PGTI member Siddikur’s second career title on the Asian Tour and he finally broke through the jinx of regular top-10 finishes at the DGC.
Siddikur, who made just two bogeys in 54 holes, made five bogeys and one triple bogey, but he also had five birdies. His card of 75 brought his total to 14-under 274 and one ahead of Chowrasia and Lahiri at 13-under 275.
Chiragh Kumar (68), Rashid Khan (72), Baek Seuk Hyun (68) and Angelo Que (72) tied for fourth. Chiragh and Rashid earned their cards for Asian Tour for 2014.
Shiv Kapur (68) was tied 13th at eight-under while Rahil Gangjee (73) was tied 19th along with Shankar Das (72) at seven-under 281.
Leading by four overnight, the tenacious Siddikur made life difficult for himself with a wobbly final round of three-over-par 75 at the Delhi Golf Club which allowed the chasing pack to breathe down his neck and apply the pressure.
Chowrasia, who has won twice previously at the fabled Delhi venue, agonisingly missed a five-foot birdie chance on the 72nd hole to force a play-off as Siddikur ended a three-year winless run following his career breakthrough at the 2010 Brunei Open.
Lahiri, who closed with a 70, shared second place with Chowrasia in the US$1.25 million tournament as he also rued a missed birdie chance on the last hole to force extra time in front of a large gallery, who were hoping to celebrate an Indian champion in the golden edition of the Hero Indian Open.
A sensational eagle from about 30 feet on the last hole earned young Indian Rashid Khan a share of fourth place with countryman Chiragh Kumar, Filipino Angelo Que and Baek Seuk-hyun of Korea, who all ended the tournament two shots behind the champion.
Siddikur, who led the Hero Indian Open from the opening round after what he termed as “playing the best golf of my life”, started strongly with birdies on the second and fifth holes but four bogeys over a six-hole stretch around the turn opened the door for his rivals to get close to him.
He steadied the ship with birdies on 13 and 14 but a calamitous triple bogey seven on 15 and another bogey on 16 ensured a dramatic and nervy finish. But on the par three 17th, Sididikur nailed what would be the most important birdie of his tournament from 15 feet to regain a one-shot advantage as his rivals eventually missed opportunities to force a play-off.
Siddikur, who earned US$225,000 said: “I am so happy. After I won in Brunei, I struggled to win a tournament. It was a long day for me but it’s been the best golf of my life this week. Honestly, I didn’t put pressure on myself but I had some bad shots for bogeys but I had a good feeling that I would win this tournament. The putt on 17 was certainly the winning putt.”
“I had a four-shot lead but on this golf course, I knew that Anirban (Lahiri) and S.S.P. Chowrasia will not play it safe. They could have shot a low score. In that case, I didn’t play safe and continued playing aggressively.
“After winning Brunei in (2010) I was really hungry to win more tournaments but it didn’t happen. However, I still remained confident and I told myself that a big victory is coming my way. That big victory happened today,” smiled Siddikur.
Chowrasia, who was chasing a third Asian Tour victory, signed off with a 72 which included four birdies against as many bogeys but lamented his missed opportunity on the last green when he pushed his putt past the hole to the despair of the home fans.
“I was not consistent. I was not playing good and made a lot of small mistakes. I had problems reading the lines. But the last three days I have putted well. I needed to make an important birdie putt on 18th hole but it didn’t happen. May be next time,” said Chowrasia.
Lahiri was in the thick of battle as he pursued his fourth Asian Tour title at the Delhi course, with three birdies around the turn pushing him into contention after starting the last day six shots behind Siddikur. But after dropping a shot on 12, the talented Indian failed to find another birdie to tie Siddikur.
“I am very proud of my Hero Indian Open record. I was third some time back and last year I was fifth and now second. On the Asian Tour I have won once and this is my third second place this year. I have been putting myself in contention and giving myself a chance. So, I must be doing something right,” said Lahiri.