Eagleton Golf Resort, Bangalore, 15-02-2014

Perera shows steely resolve to lift second straight title

Lahiri falls short despite spirited challenge

Mithun Perera of Sri Lanka came up with a resolute one-under-71 in the final round of the PGTI Eagleburg Open to bag his second title in two weeks. Perera signed off with a tournament total of 22-under-266 to register a three-shot win despite defending champion Anirban Lahiri’s spirited challenge on the final day at Eagleton – The Golf Resort near Bangalore. Local favourite Lahiri secured runner-up position after a four-under-68 in round four that saw him end up with a total of 19-under-269.

Mithun Perera (65-66-64-71) and Anirban Lahiri (68-65-68-68) were involved in a very keen contest on Saturday with a few twists and turns. Anirban made all the moves on the first 11 holes with five birdies against a lone bogey to overcome a huge six-shot deficit and draw level with Mithun who had only two bogeys to show on that stretch. Lahiri landed it within five feet on the second and sixth and converted 10 to 12 feet putts on the fifth and 11th. Mithun on the other hand struggled with bogeys on the ninth and 11th where he had a poor approach shot and a bad bounce respectively.

It was then a see-saw battle over the next three holes as Lahiri made bogey-birdie-bogey. The match swung decisively in Perera’s favour when he made an eagle on the 15th that gave him a three-shot advantage with three holes to play. Mithun played his shot of the tournament when he holed his third from 110 yards for eagle on the 15th. 
Lahiri did manage a birdie on the 17th but it was too little too late as Perera sealed it with a magnificent approach for birdie on the final hole. Mithun thus bagged his fifth professional title and ended Anirban’s golden run of four wins from four starts on the PGTI on the latter’s home course. Perera has now shot a total score of 22-under in two successive events.
Perera, who has now climbed from third to second on the Rolex Rankings, said, “I was struggling for momentum till the 15th. The eagle came just at the right time for me. My putting wasn’t good today. Fortunately for me, Anirban gave me chance when he bogeyed the 14th that put me back in the sole lead. This is my second title on the trot and I’m very pleased about that. Competing on the PGTI in the last few years has really helped my game as I have grown in confidence playing in different conditions in India and against some of India’s top players. I hope I can carry this form on to the Asian Tour as well.”

Anirban Lahiri continues to be the Rolex Rankings leader having achieved a win and a runner-up finish from his two starts on the PGTI this season. His earnings for the season stand at Rs. 11,43,200. Perera is in second place at Rs. 9,69,900.

Lahiri said, “My judgment of the speed on the greens was poor today and that resulted in two three-putts for bogeys on the first and the 14th. I was also not at my best on the par-5s in the last two rounds. I was unable to capitalize on the par-5s despite my length. Mithun’s eagle on the 15th was the game-changer. Nonetheless, it’s been a good week of golf for me and I’ll take a lot of positives from here.” 
Sri Lankan K Prabagran finished third at 14-under-274 while Mukesh Kumar of Mhow was fourth at 13-under-275.

C Muniyappa of Bangalore shot the day’s best score of 65 to claim tied fifth position along with Sri Lankans N Thangaraja and Anura Rohana at 12-under-276.

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