Saturday, October 3, 2015

Udayan Mane secures maiden title in rookie season with resolute one-shot win in Jaipur

Jaipur, October 2, 2015: Rookie Udayan Mane of the Eagleton Golf Resort, Bangalore, secured his maiden title in only his seventh professional event as he registered a memorable one-shot win at the PGTI Players Championship at Rambagh Golf Club in Jaipur. Mane shot a three-under-67 in round four to end the week with a total of 16-under-264. Kolkata’s Shankar Das, who carded a four-under-66 in the final round, finished runner-up at 15-under-265.

Udayan Mane (61-69-67-67) put together some solid performances at the pristine Rambagh Golf Club over the week to join the winners circle on the PGTI. The burly Bangalorean who stands well over six-feet in height, kept his composure in the face of stiff competition from the more experienced players such as Shankar Das, Sujjan Singh and Abhijit Singh Chadha, to come home the winner on Friday.

The 24-year-old Mane took home the winner’s cheque worth Rs. 4,50,000 and thus climbed from 26th place to ninth position in the Rolex Rankings. He also went up from third place to first position in the Emerging Player of the Year race.

Mane, who was overnight second, produced his second straight 67 in round four to seal the contest. Udayan, trailing by two shots after round three, couldn’t have asked for a better start on the final day as he followed up a good wedge shot with a 10-feet birdie conversion on the first. He then recovered well from the bunker on the eighth to gain another shot. A 15-feet birdie conversion on the 10th saw Mane emerge as a top contender for the title as he went two clear at the top.

Udayan had some anxious moments when he bogeyed the 15th after finding the hazard. However, the articulate golfer, who trains and practices along with the likes of Anirban Lahiri and Chikkarangappa at the Eagleton Golf Resort in Bangalore, came back well with a 12-feet birdie conversion on the 16th to all but wrap up the title.

Mane said, “I’m overjoyed with this victory considering the fact that I’ve achieved it in my rookie season. It’s special to win despite such a strong field and tough competition till the very end. I felt I focused well and kept up the intensity throughout. I was aware of the leaderboard but didn’t really let it bother me.

“I dedicate this win to my parents Mr. Satish Mane and Mrs. Sujata Mane as well as to my coach Mr. Vijay Divecha. I also dedicate the win to all the rookies on the PGTI, who I feel, will now believe they can win too.

“My target at the start of the season was to finish inside the top-15 of the Rolex Rankings. I will now have to reassess my goals and look to aim higher.”

Shankar Das (61-69-69-66) shot a bogey-free 66 on day four to finish second. He chipped-in for birdie on the third and thereafter made some good chip-putt birdies. However, he also missed out on some short putts. Had Shankar converted his 10-foot birdie putt on the final hole, he would’ve joined Udayan in a playoff. But he missed the pin by a whisker.

Om Prakash Chouhan of Mhow came in third at 14-under-266 thanks to a final round of 65, the day’s joint best score.

Bangalore’s C Muniyappa too posted a 65 in round four to claim tied fourth place at 13-under-267. He was joined by fellow Bangalorean Khalin Joshi (66) and Chandigarh’s Sujjan Singh (69) in tied fourth.

Sujjan was in contention for the title till the 16th before he dropped consecutive bogeys on the last two holes.

Chandigarh’s Abhijit Singh Chadha, the overnight leader by two strokes, slipped to tied eighth (11-under-269) on the final day after returning a four-over-74.

Delhi’s Shubham Narain, the only amateur to make the cut, bagged the trophy for the best performance by an amateur as he secured a creditable tied 25th position at five-under-275.

Jaipur’s Vishal Singh was tied 34th at two-under-278.

Photo caption: Udayan Mane receives the winning cheque from Mr. Giriraj Singh, Captain, Rambagh Golf Club (left) and Mr. Rajiv Gandhi, Secretary, Rambagh Golf Club (right)

PGTI releaae

India men hockey team posts 3-1 win against New Zealand A

New Delhi, October 2, 2015: Playing an aggressive game, the India men hockey team outplayed New Zealand A, 3-1 in the first match of the New Zealand Tour being played in Auckland today.

The first quarter started with New Zealand A going on the attack and earning two back-to-back penalty corners in the first few minutes. India’s star goalkeeper PR Sreejesh displayed his quick moves in front of the goal-box and thwarted both the attempts. Post that it was Ramandeep Singh who was seen brilliantly dribble past the opponents defenders giving a beautiful pass to forward Akashdeep Singh, who was quick to put the ball into the nets without giving any chance to the New Zealand custodian in the 3rd minute. After conceding a goal, New Zealand A players attacked again and looked for opportunities to score equaliser. However, the Indian defenders restricted their moves and maintained pressure on the home team. The score-card remained 1-0 by the end of the first quarter.

In the second quarter, Indians started with fierce attacks and kept the ball moving in the opponent’s half. In the 20th minute, Ramandeep sneaked into the defence-line and scored a spectacular field goal taking the score to 2-0. Inspired by Ramandeep’s goal, defender Gurjinder Singh sneaked into the opponent’s half and passed the ball to forward Nikkin Thimmaiah, who outfoxed defenders with his dribbling skills and hit the ball into the goal-box in the 26th minute. With this marvellous field goal, Indians were in lead with 3-0 by the end of the second quarter.

The third quarter started with an aggressive game from New Zealand A, who were lagging behind by three goals. They managed to keep the ball in the Indian half and tried to create opportunities to score goals. In the 36th minute, they earned a crucial penalty corner and successfully converted into their first goal. The Indians counter-attacked on the home team and created the pressure again. New Zealand was now playing a defensive game and kept their goal-box protected. The score-card stood 3-1 by the end of the third quarter in India's favour.

In the fourth quarter, both the teams pushed themselves harder to score more goals as well as defend their goal-box. Indian forwards Ramandeep, Akashdeep and Nikkin kept the defenders busy and played most of the game in opponent’s half. After a series of attacks from India, the match finished at 3-1 in favour of the visiting team.

Hockey India release

Abhijit Singh Chadha maintains lead with a fighting 68, two clear at the top

Abhijit Singh Chadha
Jaipur, October 1, 2015: Chandigarh’s Abhijit Singh Chadha maintained his lead at the PGTI Players Championship at Rambagh Golf Club with a tenacious two-under-68 in round three to be two clear at the top at 15-under-195. Udayan Mane of Bangalore hung on to second place at 13-under-197 after firing a 67 on day three. Sujjan Singh, another Chandigarh golfer, fired a hole-in-one on the 11th during his round of 65 that propelled him to third place at 12-under-198.

Abhijit Singh Chadha (62-65-68), who led by three shots at the start of the day, put up a gritty performance in the penultimate round to enjoy a two-shot advantage going into the final day in Jaipur. Chadha, who won the 2012 PGTI Emerging Player of the Year title, had a quiet front-nine as he three-putted for bogey on the seventh before pulling it back with an up and down for birdie on the eighth.

Abhijit seemed to be losing ground when he failed to recover from the bunker on the 11th and conceded another bogey. But then he continued his sublime form on the par-5s, by making birdies on the 14th, 17th and 18th and thus salvaged the day.

“I didn’t feel I was at my best today. My ball-striking was not as good as the first two days. But like round two, I once again scored birdies on all the four par-5s. I made chip-putt birdies on the eighth, 17th and 18th and was two-on on the 14th. If I play to my potential tomorrow, everyone will find it hard to catch up with me,” said a confident Chadha, who won his only professional title during his rookie season on the PGTI in 2012.

He added, “I was runner-up in Noida last year and finished third at Panchkula earlier this year but victory has eluded me of late. It’s a great opportunity for me to finally get another title against my name.”

Rookie Udayan Mane (61-69-67), who was overnight joint second, mixed five birdies with two bogeys on day three to continue in second place. Mane landed it within a foot on both the third and 16th for his most impressive birdies of the day. However, unlike his playing partner and current leader Abhijit Singh Chadha, he couldn’t make the par-5s count.

Udayan, who is now in contention for his maiden title, said, “I didn’t capitalize on the par-5s today. I also struggled with my long-irons. I need to improve in these areas to create chances for myself in the final round.”

Sujjan Singh (66-67-65) produced a magical hole-in-one on the 11th en route his round of 65 to be one shot behind Mane in third place. He also secured birdies on the 14th, 17th and 18th with chip-putts on the first two and a tap-in after a missed eagle chance from 12 feet on the closing hole.

Sujjan, a multiple winner on the PGTI and a winner on the Asian Development Tour, moved up one place from his overnight tied fourth as a result of his brilliant third round effort.

Kolkata’s Shankar Das, lying overnight tied second, slipped to joint fourth at 11-under-199 after a round of 69 on Thursday. Delhi’s Shamim Khan posted a 64 in round three to share fourth place with Shankar.

Bangalore golfer Khalin Joshi and Om Prakash Chouhan of Mhow were a further two shots back in tied sixth.

The Delhi duo of Siddharth Semwal and Vinod Kumar along with Faridabad’s Abhinav Lohan, shot the day’s joint best score of seven-under-63.

Semwal’s 63 pushed him up from overnight tied 31st to tied eighth at eight-under-202. He made eight birdies and a bogey. Siddharth’s birdies included two chip-ins and a 30-feet putt. He closed his round in style with a spectacular approach from 140 yards on the ninth that landed two feet from the pin. Semwal made four straight birdies from the sixth through the ninth.

Vinod Kumar and Abhinav Lohan, both of whom were overnight tied 46th after making the cut by one shot, ended round three in tied 15th at six-under-204 thanks to their third round scores of 63. While Vinod carded a bogey-free round, Abhinav made eight birdies against a lone bogey.

Delhi-based amateur Shubham Narain exceeded expectations by closing the day in tied 12th at seven-under-203. His superb 64 featured an eagle, five birdies and a bogey.

Jaipur’s Vishal Singh ended the day in tied 33rd place at one-under-209 after a round of even-par-70.

PGTI Press release