Abhinav Lohan breaks victory barrier with playoff triumph in season finale at The Palms; Wasim Khan and local lad Sanjeev Kumar finish joint runners-up
Rookie Yuvraj Singh Sandhu emerges TATA Steel PGTI Feeder Tour Order of Merit champion
Abhinav Lohan of the DLF Golf & Country Club, Gurugram, ended a long wait for his maiden title as he triumphed in a playoff over Delhi’s Wasim Khan and Lucknow’s Sanjeev Kumar at the season-ending TATA Steel PGTI Feeder Tour 2019 Presented by The Palms Golf Club & Resort played in Lucknow.
The trio of Abhinav (29-51-51), Wasim (31-52-48) and Sanjeev (30-51-50) had identical totals of 15-under-131 at the end of regulation play in round three. The three players then headed for the playoff where 2010 Asian Games silver medallist Lohan came out trumps with a long birdie conversion on the first extra hole.
The Lucknow duo of brothers Sanjay Kumar and Amardeep Rawat took joint fourth place at 12-under-134 at the Rs. 8 lakh event which constituted the sixth and last leg of the season.
As a result of heavy rain for the last one week, part of the course was rendered unplayable and as such the round was played over 15 holes with the par for the course being 56.
Abhinav Lohan, the joint leader after round two, continued as the top contender on Friday when he birdied the seventh, eighth and 10th thanks to some quality ball-striking. Abhinav added two more birdies on the 14th and 15th to sign off with an error-free and classy 51 that helped him make it into the three-way playoff. In the playoff, Lohan sank a decisive 15-footer for birdie even as his rivals Wasim and Sanjeev missed their birdie putts.
Abhinav thus continued his rich vein of form over the last three events after having finished tied 21st at the Asian Tour event at Classic and tied 11th at last week’s Jaipur Open.
Lohan, who turned professional in 2011, said, “I’m relieved to have finally won my first title. I’ve waited a long time for this. This win gives me loads of confidence as I head back on to the PGTI’s main tour.
“I’ve been striking the ball really well since the last three events. All the hard work that has gone into improving my hitting seems to be paying off. I made just three bogeys this week.
“I made a few good up and downs today and almost drove the greens on the two short par-4s, the 10th and 15th. Those birdies turned out to be crucial.
“I read my winning putt, the 15-footer in the playoff, very carefully and executed it to perfection. I didn’t want to be back for another playoff as I had found the rough with my tee shot on the 18th both during regulation play and during the playoff. So I was glad to finish it on the first playoff hole,” added Abhinav who took home the winning cheque worth Rs. 1,01,720.
Wasim Khan’s fabulous eight-under, also bogey-free, was the best score of the final round. Wasim, who was fourth and three off the lead after round two, made a chip-in and some long conversions before fighting his way into the playoff with a last hole birdie from five feet.
Sanjeev Kumar, lying one off the lead in third place after round two, joined Abhinav and Wasim in the playoff after his flawless last round of 50 that featured an eagle and four birdies.
Rookie Yuvraj Singh Sandhu emerges 2019 TATA Steel PGTI Feeder Tour Order of Merit champion
Chandigarh-based rookie Yuvraj Singh Sandhu emerged as the 2019 TATA Steel PGTI Feeder Tour Order of Merit champion at the end of the season as he recorded the highest earnings for the season which stood at Rs. 2,82,480. Sandhu, who did not play the last event of the season at The Palms this week, had taken an unassailable lead in the money list after the fifth and penultimate event of the season.
The 22-year-old Yuvraj registered two wins and two other top-10s from his four starts in the season. He has now earned an exemption for the 2020 PGTI season (Main Tour).
Yuvraj said, “Winning the Feeder Tour Order of Merit is a great start to my career. The two wins on the tour this year and my good scores have given me a lot of self-belief.
“The PGTI Feeder Tour is a great test of skills and provides an ideal platform to rookies like myself to sharpen our game before we go on to play the bigger events on the PGTI.
“I’m now looking forward to winning on the PGTI main tour this season.”
Wasim Khan’s joint runner-up finish at The Palms helped him secure second place in the Feeder Tour merit list with season’s earnings of Rs. 2,05,120.