Jamshedpur, Dec. 20: The seasoned Mukesh Kumar of Mhow brought his experience to the fore on the final day of the 14th TATA Open at the Golmuri Golf Course, as he emerged triumphant in a three-way playoff to take home the title and the winner’s cheque worth Rs. 11,25,000. Mukesh, along with Delhi’s Vinod Kumar and Noida’s Amardip Sinh Malik had ended the regulation 72 holes with matching totals of 15-under-269. The Mhow man finally sealed the Rs. 75 lakh event on the third extra hole with a four-feet par putt.
Mukesh’s win at the penultimate event of the season took him from third place to first position in the Rolex Ranking as his earnings for the year went up to Rs. 34,91,710. Chikkarangappa of Bengaluru is placed second in the money list with earnings of Rs. 26,37,440.
Mukesh Kumar (70-65-67-67) bagged a record 17th title on the PGTI and his second win of the season thanks to a solid performance through the week. His final round of four-under-67 featured seven birdies and three bogeys. Kumar, who won his third TATA Open title, was one-under through the front-nine as he made three birdies against two bogeys. He landed his lob wedge within five feet on two occasions and sank a 15-footer on the seventh.
Kumar then put on a fantastic display of his wedge-play on the back-nine by landing it within four feet for three birdies. He seemed to be coasting to victory with an eight-feet conversion on the 17th but a poor chip on the 18th resulted in a bogey and relegated him to a playoff with Vinod Kumar (66) and Amardip Sinh Malik (69).
Vinod Kumar had started well by setting up a tap-in birdie from the bunker on the first but witnessed a lip-out on the sixth for his only bogey of the day. Vinod made it to the playoff with five birdies on the back-nine which included a 30-feet conversion on the 17th. His 66 was the best round of the day.
Amardip Sinh Malik, the overnight leader by two, seemed to be out of the race till he birdied the last two holes. He drained a 25-footer on the 18th to make it to the playoff. Malik finally crashed out on the first playoff hole courtesy a poor third shot that landed in the bunker and led to a bogey. Mukesh and Vinod made pars there after Mukesh missed it from three feet for birdie. Both
Mukesh and Vinod, both former champions at the TATA Open, made pars on the second playoff hole before being engaged in a battle of attrition on the third playoff hole. The decisive moment came when Vinod missed a sitter for par from two feet while Mukesh sank his four feet par putt after a brilliant chip.
“There was no pressure on me even after the bogey on the 18th. I just played it steady in the playoff. I feel my experience counted at the end,” said the 50-year-old Mukesh, the most experienced player among the three who went into the playoff.
He added, “I hit it close through the day and my driving form was back today. I also played the wedges to perfection. It’s great to be leading the Rolex Ranking going into the final tournament of the year.”
Chandigarh’s Sujjan Singh, Delhi’s Honey Baisoya and Noida’s Vikrant Chopra took a share of fourth place at 13-under-271.
Jamshedpur’s Karan Taunk ended tied 42nd at one-over-285.
The results for the Pro-Am held on December 16 were declared on Sunday. The Pro-Am played in the Team Stableford format was won by professional Ranjit Singh of Chandigarh and his team of amateurs comprising of Ms. Marshneil Prasad, Ms. Vibhuti Adesara and Mr. V P Srivastava. The had a team total of 123.