AADIL BEDI - Bedi proves to be the Marathon Man with a shot world golf will remember
Incredibly, 19-year-old Aadil Bedi’s unforgettable shot happens to be the last shot that was played on any recognized Tour in the world before men’s professional golf was shut down by the COVID-19 situation.
It was the deciding blow in a protracted battle for the promising Chandigarh teenager, who was looking for his first win as a professional, against Udayan Mane, showing almost Tiger Woods-like dominance on the PGTI Tour and winning three times in his last three starts.
That streak was finally ended on the sixth play-off hole at the Bengal Open (on March 15, 2020), played at the storied Tollygunge Club course. It was the longest play-off in the history of the PGTI, comfortably beating the previous record of four.
Tollygunge Club, like Congressional Country Club, is one of those rare golf courses that has a par-3 finishing hole. Playing in the leadergroup alongside Mane, Bedi reached the 72nd hole in regulation one ahead.
The Sunday pin was tucked way back and the hole was playing to 190 yards. Three-under for the back nine and playing solid golf, Bedi pulled his 5-iron slightly and faced a tough shot from the greenside bunker – his swing impeded by the back wall. He splashed out to 20 feet and missed the putt, while Mane got his eighth successive par to get into the play-off.
It was now advantage Mane. Not only because of his superior experience and recent unbeatable form, but also because the 18th hole was going to be played again and again and even the slightest psychologically scar would have been detrimental for Bedi.
As it turns out, they played the 18th three times, before moving to other holes. With darkness starting to descend rapidly, the players could not be separated and approached the 18th hole once again. This time, a new pin location was made towards the front of the green, making it a 170-yard hole instead of 190.
Both players missed the green and Mane chipped it to four feet to ramp up the pressure on the youngster, who had moments before drained a 40-footer putt to stay in the play-off.
Bedi surveyed the 20 yards of real estate between him and the flag in fading light. There was a slight left-to-right break that needed to be read perfectly. He took out a sand wedge, flew the ball about 10 yards, and it started rolling towards the hole exactly as he wanted it to. It turned ever so slightly as it neared its destination, before burying itself into the cup.
“It was probably the best chip I have hit so far. It was under pressure, in front of a large gallery, and I was trying to win my first professional event,” said Bedi.
“That shot has strengthened my belief. I now feel that winning is within reach in every match that I play.”
The triumph, a testament to Bedi’s fighting abilities, helped him climb to No. 656 in the world rankings.
By Joy Chakravarty (@TheJoyofGolf)
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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