Manu Gandas survived some anxious moments before scripting a dramatic win in a play-off to capture the Tata Steel Tamil Nadu Amateur title at the Coimbatore Golf Club, in Coimbatore.
Manu, who came into the final round with an overnight lead of five shots seemed to have lost his touch as he carded a 4-over 76 to finish the tournament at 8-under 280.
A fighting Syed Saqib Ahmed brought in a card of one-under par 71 to tie with Manu, which necessitated a play-off.
After both the players squared the first play-off hole (par-5 10th) with a par, Saqib hit his second into the trees in the second play-off hole (Par-5 9th) while Manu was safely near the green in two and promptly made a birdie to clinch the issue.
Aman Raj came third at 284 while Udayan Mane who brought in the day’s best card of 69 was placed fourth at 287. Karan Taunk was fifth at 289 while Samarth Dwivedi and Ainesh Ahluwalia were tied for the sixth place.
It was Saqib who called the first shots as he went for the pins from the word ‘go’ making a birdie on the opening hole. However, it cost him, probably the match, when he made consecutive double bogeys on the third and fourth.
With three birdies in the next five holes, the Bangalore lad was back in contention at the half-way stage, trailing the Gurgaon-based amateur by a solitary shot after Manu had made two bogeys and a double on his front nine.
Even as Saqib chased for birdies, Manu played a calm game making his lone birdie of the day on the par-5 13th and lost a shot on the 16th. Saqib made a double on the 11th but recovered to make birdies on the 15th and 17th to tie with Manu.
“I am thrilled at my victory especially since the field was a strong one. I was a bit lost on my front nine. I did not know whether to attack or defend, hence committed some mistakes,” said Manu.