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Updated: August 26, 2012 00:16 IST

Cup of joy for Rashid Khan

Principal Correspondent
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THE CHAMPION: Rashid Khan handled pressure well to win the PGTI Players Championship on Saturday. Photo: K. Ananthan
The Hindu THE CHAMPION: Rashid Khan handled pressure well to win the PGTI Players Championship on Saturday. Photo: K. Ananthan

Fires a birdie on the third playoff hole to edge out a fighting Vikrant Chopra

Delhi’s Rashid Khan handled pressure in an amazing manner to emerge the champion of the PGTI Players Championship at the par-72 Coimbatore Golf Club course in Chettipalayam, here on Saturday.

The 21-year-old fired a birdie on the third playoff hole to edge out a fighting Vikrant Chopra, also from Delhi, for his second PGTI victory.

“Awesome,” was how he described his win. “I have no words to express how I feel today. It will take some time for it to sink,” he added.

Clear-cut strategy

Rashid, the overnight leader, started the day with a two-stroke lead. He chalked out a clear-cut strategy — to play the way he did on the first three days. But it was quite unfortunate that nothing worked right for this youngster. He missed a lot of fairways and ended up with a couple of bad shots.

Meanwhile, Vikrant, who was out hunting his first title, paced his game well and entered the final hole with a one stroke lead.

It was at this juncture that he let slip the advantage by dropping a bogey and taking the championship into the play-off.

Rashid, who had two birdies and five bogeys on his bag, carded a three-over 75 and Vikrant a one-over 73. The duo finished the regulation 72 holes with identical totals of six-under 282. The first two playoffs saw both golfers on par. In the third, Rashid converted a 20-feet birdie putt, while Vikrant missed a 25-feet birdie putt to give the former the title.

Thanks to the victory, Rashid walked away with a cash purse of Rs. 323,000. He also moved up from the 10th to fifth position on the Rolex rankings.

Under pressure

Rashid admitted he was under pressure.

“The wind was blowing a lot and I could not putt. On many holes it was a real challenge. He was there right on top and put the pressure on me, but unfortunately he missed out when it mattered most.” Rashid now plans to carry his good work forward to the Asian Tour in Malaysia starting next month.

C. Muniyappa of Bangalore and Kolkata’s Feroz Ali Mollah shared the third spot with matching total of three-under 285. The Coimbatore crowd had something to cheer about as S. Sidhartha, the only amateur to make the cut, took home the trophy for the best amateur score.

The scores (after 72 holes): 1. Rashid Khan (70, 67, 70, 75) 282; 2. Vikrant Chopra (72, 67, 70, 73) 282; 3. Feroz Ali Mollah (69, 69, 75, 72) & C. Muniyappa (68, 74, 72, 71) 285; 5. Harendra P. Gupta (70, 71, 75, 70) & Amardip Singh Malik (68, 73, 73, 72) 286.

Rolex rankings (as of 2012, PGTI Players Championship): 1. Anirbhan Lahiri (Secunderabad); 2. Digvijay Singh (DLF); 3. Shamim Khan (Delhi); 4. Md. Siddikur Rahman (Bangladesh); 5. Rashid Khan (Delhi).

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