Saturday, August 13, 2016

Khalin Joshi savours thrilling playoff win

 Khalin Joshi (right) receives winner's cheque 

Mewat, Haryana, August 12, 2016: Bengaluru’s Khalin Joshi savoured a thrilling playoff victory over Delhi’s Chiragh Kumar at the Rs. 30 lakh PGTI Players Championship at the Classic Golf & Country Club on Friday.

Khalin Joshi (68-65-67-70) and Chiragh Kumar (70-65-66-69) were involved in a playoff after both finished the regulation 72 holes with matching totals of 18-under-270. Khalin finally nailed a decisive birdie on the first playoff hole to take home the winner’s cheque worth Rs. 4,50,000.

Earlier in the day, Chiragh Kumar, lying overnight second and one off the lead, took the honours on the front-nine as he scored four birdies thanks to some excellent putting to establish a substantial three-stroke lead over Khalin.

But the contest took an exciting turn after a two and a half hour rain delay, as Khalin, who could only manage a birdie and a bogey on the front-nine, fought back with three consecutive birdies on the 12th, 13th and 14th to draw level with Chiragh. Joshi made a chip-in on the 13th.

There was more drama to follow as Chiragh and Khalin both dropped a bogey each on the 16th and 17th respectively. Both players made pars on the 18th and the deadlock resulted in a playoff.

Khalin, who celebrated his 24th birthday earlier on Thursday, finally sealed his third PGTI win with a five feet birdie conversion on the first playoff hole. He thus moved up from 10th to fifth place in the Rolex Ranking.

“It’s a highly satisfying win for me since the course conditions were tough due to the rain on the last two days. I’ve also won on the PGTI after a long gap so it’s all the more special. Hopefully, I can now get my Asian Tour season back on track,” said Khalin.

He added, “I came into this week carrying forward my good hitting form from last week in Noida. I didn’t really feel the pressure today. I felt the stoppage due to rain helped me today. I wasn’t really swinging well before the rain delay. But during the stoppage of play I got in a good warm up session and got my swing going.

“I feel I’m in a good mental frame at the moment and looking forward to the second half of the season.”  
Gurgaon’s Karan Pratap Singh, the lone amateur to make the cut, won the trophy for the best performance by an amateur. His total score of five-over-293 placed him overall tied 40th.

Bengaluru’s Chikkarangappa S ended of the week with a flourish as he drained birdies on his last four holes to shoot the final day’s best score of eight-under-64. The reigning Rolex Ranking champion thus finished third at 17-under-271.

Delhi’s Rashid Khan finished fourth at 13-under-275.

PGTI Press release and photo

Khalin Joshi continues to lead on day three

Khalin Joshi 

Mewat, Haryana, August 11, 2016: Bengaluru’s Khalin Joshi celebrated his 24thbirthday in style by shooting a bogey-free five-under-67 in the third round of the PGTI Players Championship being played at the Classic Golf & Country Club. Joshi’s terrific effort helped him maintain his overnight lead as his total moved to 16-under-200 on a day that witnessed a brief rain interruption.

Delhi’s Chiragh Kumar also held on to his overnight second place courtesy the day’s best score of 66. Chiragh thus took his total to 15-under-201 and managed to reduce Khalin’s overnight lead from two strokes to one.

Khalin Joshi (68-65-67) continued to sit atop the leadberboard going into the final round of PGTI’s eighth event of its landmark 10th season. The two-time winner on the PGTI never seemed to be in any sort of trouble despite playing most of his back-nine in rainy conditions.

Joshi, the overnight leader by two, made early inroads with birdies on the first and third. He then produced one of his best shots of the day, a chip-in, for another birdie on the seventh. He picked up two more strokes on the 12th and 18th, with the birdie on the last, helping him pull away by one shot.

“I shot my lowest score of the week in round two but I think today’s round was better as it came in tougher conditions. I also kept the errors out today. The brief interruption due to rain didn’t really bother me.

“I’ve been playing really well. It’s now about carrying forward the momentum into the last round. The birdie on the last hole was a big boost as it gave me the edge ahead of the final round,” said Khalin.

He added, “A win is extremely important for me at this stage of my career as it will give me the confidence to raise my game on the Asian Tour where I have been struggling.”

Chiragh Kumar (70-65-66), lying two off the lead at the halfway stage, matched Khalin shot for shot on day three. Chiragh stayed in touch with the leader with five birdies and just one bogey till the 12th.

The Asian Tour regular then made a charge with a couple of long birdie conversions on the 15th and 16th to draw level with Joshi. Chiragh finally ended the day just one off the pace.

Chiragh said, “I’ve been in good putting form this week. I made five birdie conversions from a range of 10 to 25 feet today. I also sank a 45-footer for eagle in round two. It’s been a while since I’ve won on the PGTI. I’d like to make good of this opportunity.”

Delhi’s Rashid Khan was placed third at 11-under-205 after his round of 69 that included seven birdies, two bogeys and a double bogey. Rashid, the winner from last week, could also be a contender on the final day.

Abhijit Singh Chadha (67) of Chandigarh and Bengaluru’s Chikkarangappa (70) were in joint fourth at nine-under-207.

PGTI press release and phto

Khalin Joshi storms into the second round lead at Classic

Bengaluru’s Khalin Joshi 

Mewat, Haryana, August 10, 2016: Bengaluru’s Khalin Joshi carded a scintillating seven-under-65 to storm into the second round lead at the PGTI Players Championship being played at the Classic Golf & Country Club. He totaled 11-under-133 at the halfway stage.

Delhi’s Chiragh Kumar too produced a 65 to finish the day in second position at nine-under-135, two off the pace.

Khalin Joshi (68-65), one of the most consistent golfers in the current PGTI season with four top-7 finishes from four starts, emerged as a major title contender at the PGTI Players Championship on Wednesday after he notched up eight birdies against a lone bogey in his second round to move up four places from his overnight tied fifth.

Joshi, who last won on the PGTI in early 2015, converted at will from four to six feet for his seven birdies on the first 15 holes. Khalin finally ended the day with a great recovery from the trees on the ninth where he landed his third shot for a tap-in birdie.

“I enjoyed a good outing at Noida last week having finished seventh. The conditions were tough out there with the wind coming into play and I handled it well. The birdie on the last gave me some momentum going into the third round.

“I’ve done well on the PGTI this year but have not been able to carry that form to the Asian Tour. I feel my game is now coming together. I’m now hoping for a few invites to Asian Tour events,” said Joshi, who missed out on his Asian Tour card at the Asian Tour Qualifying School earlier this year.

Chiragh Kumar (70-65) shot the day’s best score of 65 along with Khalin to take a giant leap from overnight tied 21st to second place. Chiragh, the reigning Panasonic Open India champion, had a bogey-free day as he sank an eagle and five birdies.

Delhi’s Rashid Khan, the winner in Noida last week, posted yet another brilliant score of 67 to make his way to tied third place at eight-under-136 from his overnight tied 11th. Rashid’s round featured four straight birdies from the 18th to the third.

Chandigarh’s Sujjan Singh, lying overnight tied second, stayed in contention with a steady 70 that placed him in joint third along with Rashid.

Fifth place was shared between round one leader Aman Raj (72) of Patna, Bengaluru’s Chikkarangappa (68) and Mukesh Kumar of Mhow (69) at seven-under-137.

The cut fell at two-over-146. Fifty-one professionals and one amateur made the cut.

PGTI Press release and photo

Rookie Aman Raj makes a statement with a sparkling 65 in round one

Aman Raj of Patna 

Mewat, Haryana, August 9, 2016: Rookie Aman Raj of Patna made a statement on the opening day of the PGTI Players Championship at the Classic Golf & Country Club with a sparkling seven-under-65 that gave him the first round lead.  

The Chandigarh duo of Abhijit Singh Chadha and Sujjan Singh were one off the lead thanks to equally impressive scores of 66.

Aman Raj, India’s top amateur till last year, had made an exciting start to his professional career with two top-25 finishes in his first two events on the PGTI earlier this season. The 21-year-old continued to live up to his promise yet again as he fired an error-free opening round 65 in only his third professional event.     

Aman was off to a brisk start from the 10th, collecting birdies on the 11th, 13th and 14th, two of them from a range of 10 to 15 feet. The highlight of his round was the chip-in for eagle from 25 yards on the 18th.

Two more 10-feet birdie conversions on the second and ninth along with some brilliant par-saves on the front-nine meant Aman Raj closed the day one ahead of the rest.

“The decent finishes in my first two events on the PGTI really helped my confidence as it gave me a good start to my pro career. I feel I’m getting better with each event. It’ll be about keeping it in play this week and continuing with my good putting form. I missed just one short putt today,” said Aman Raj.

He added, “I’ve done well at Classic in the past having won a team event here in 2015. So that too was at the back of my mind as I began the week. Over the next three rounds, if I can keep the errors out just like today, it’ll give me a good chance to stay in contention.”

Abhijit Singh Chadha, who won PGTI’s last event at the Classic Golf & Country Club back in 2015, looked in ominous form early in his round at his happy hunting ground. His sharp short-game earned him birdies on his first four holes of the week (1st to 4th).

Chadha’s back-nine was a mixed bag as he holed an eagle and three birdies but also conceded a bogey and a double-bogey. He chipped-in for eagle on the 15th but then found himself in the thick grass on the 17th where he dropped two shots.

Abhijit said, “I have some good memories of Classic from last year when I won here and that always helps. I’ve been striking it well since last week but today the putter also showed up for me. That made the difference in the scoring.”

Sujjan Singh matched fellow Chandigarh-resident Chadha’s 66 with his own bogey-free effort to take a share of second spot.

Akshay Sharma, another Chandigarh golfer, was placed fourth at 67.

PGTI Press release and photo