Panchkula, Haryana, 06-02-2015

N Thangaraja comes through in a battle of nerves to win season-opener at Panchkula, earns Indian Open berth

Mukesh Kumar is runner-up

N Thangaraja of Sri Lanka came through in a battle of nerves to win the season-opening PGTI Players Championship presented by Panchkula Golf Club by one shot. Thangaraja, who totaled five-under-277 for the week, finished one shot ahead of Mhow golfer Mukesh Kumar who was runner-up at four-under-278. Both players fired scores of one-over-73 in the final round of the Rs. 30 lakh event on Friday.

Panchkula's Angad Cheema and Chandigarh-based Abhijit Singh Chadha claimed a share of third place along with Delhi's Ashok Kumar at three-under-279.

Thangaraja (69-67-68-73), the overnight leader by one shot, seemed to be coasting to victory as he was one-under through 15 holes on the final day. The 33-year-old landed his wedge shots within three feet to set up birdies on the sixth, 11th and 15th. A three-putt on the eighth and an erratic tee shot on the 13th resulted in dropped shots.

Mukesh Kumar (66-70-69-73), placed second after round three, emerged a serious contender for the title on Friday when he birdied the 15th and 16th to draw level with Thangaraja. Mukesh had made two birdies and two bogeys earlier in the round.

The 17th and 18th holes provided a befitting finale to the tournament. Both Thanga and Mukesh missed chip-putts to drop bogeys on the 17th and thus continued to share the lead. The 18th hole turned out to be decisive as Mukesh hit his tee shot out of bounds and therefore conceded a double-bogey. This enabled Thanga to take home the trophy despite a three-putt for bogey on the final hole.

Thangaraja, who bagged his second professional title, said, “This win is a morale-booster for me as I hadn’t won a tournament since December 2013. It’s great to start the season with a victory. I’m delighted that my success this week has earned me a spot at this month’s Indian Open.”

“I knew Mukesh was not going to make it easy for me towards the end. But I didn’t panic and put pressure on myself. I was very good around the greens today and hit only a couple of bad shots with the irons. My ball-striking was very consistent through the week,” added Thangaraja, who is now the 2015 Rolex Rankings leader.

Ashok Kumar’s four-under-68 was the day’s best round and helped him finish joint third. Ashok also came into contention when he was six-under for the day through 16 holes. However, he dropped out of the race with a double-bogey on the 18th.

Local lads Abhijit Singh Chadha (72) and Angad Cheema (73) shared third place with Ashok Kumar at three-under-279.

Delhi’s Shamim Khan and Noida golfers Rahul Bajaj and Amardip Sinh Malik were joint sixth at two-under-280.


Round 4 leaderboard:

277: N Thangaraja

278: Mukesh Kumar

279: Ashok Kumar, Abhijit Singh Chadha, Angad Cheema

280: Shamim Khan, Rahul Bajaj, Amardip Sinh Malik



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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. Srinivasan H R (President), PGTI's governing body comprises leading Indian golf professionals. PGTI currently has over 300 members.

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