Navratna Ahmedabad cashed in on a favourable draw in the 3rd Louis Philippe Cup final against Puravankara Bangalore, with in-form Mithun Perera slated to face-off in the decider against M. Dharma.
Vinod Kumar (two-under-68 with four birdies) won his matchplay against talented S Chikkarangappa (one-under 69 with three birdies), then stayed back to watch teammate Perera ((two-under 68) produce another standout performance under pressure, highlighted by a critical birdie on the par-five 18th hole to defeat determined M. Dharma (one-under 69 despite a triple bogie on the ninth hole) and spark off celebrations at the par-70 BPGC course.
Vikrant Chopra (71) had lost the first head-to-head clash against classy Anirban Lahiri (five birdies and five bogies for par score70). Bangalore was unable to build on the lead, as Ahmedabad surged back strongly through Vinod and Mithun to win 2-1 and wear the maroon jackets for champions. Himmat Rai (71) fired up Krrish Colombo, for whom Sri Lankans K. Prabagaran and N. Thangaraja competed, to a 2-1 third place win over AVT Kolkata in the nine-team PGTI event.
Ahmedabad looked up to Sri Lankan Perera for answers in difficult situations. The stocky pro, smiling his way over 18 holes at the BPGC course, oozed confidence with each stride. He ended up with a hat-trick of titles, winning the Eagleburg Open at Bangalore and Standard Chartered Open in Colombo in the weeks before the Louis Philippe Cup. “We lift each other up and perform as a team. We were confident that we could do it,” said Perera.
Ahmedabad team owners kept faith in Mithun, Vikrant and Vinod over three years, the players responded with the title, worth Rs. 36 lakhs. The other exceptional show on Saturday came from Himmat Rai in the tie to decide third and fourth place. He fired two back-to-back birdies when trailing by three shots against Shankar Das (72), followed by an eagle for 71. Bangalore was richer by Rs. 24 lakhs, Colombo earned Rs. 18 lakhs in the event conducted by RN Golf Management.
Final scores: Navratna Ahmedabad def Puravankara Bangalore 2-1 (Vikrant Chopra (71) lost to Anirban Lahiri (70); Vinod Kumar (68) bt S. Chikkarangappa (69); Mithun Perera (68) bt M. Dharma (69)).
Placings: Third/Fourth: Krrish Colombo def AVT Kolkata 2-1 -- Himmat Rai (71) bt Shankar Das (72), K Prabagaran (71) lost to Rahil Gangjee (67), N Thangaraja (70) bt Chiragh Kumar (71).
Fifth/Sixth: DLF Gurgaon beat TAKE Chennai 3-0. Seventh/Eighth: Shubhkamna Delhi bt Jaypee Greens Noida 2-1.