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Arjun Atwal claims maiden title in U.S.

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COOL CUSTOMER: India’s Arjun Atwal, who is concentration personified, clinched his maiden title in the USA.
COOL CUSTOMER: India’s Arjun Atwal, who is concentration personified, clinched his maiden title in the USA.

‘Getting my card back on PGA Tour is a sweet bonus’

Chattanooga (USA): Arjun Atwal kept his cool in a thrilling play-off to clinch his maiden golf title in the United States — the Nationwide Tour’s Chattanooga Classic — which also earned him a ticket to the PGA Tour next season.

The Orlando-based golfer, who earned a whopping $90,000 cheque for his triumph, rose to 15th from 34th in the Nationwide Money List with season’s earnings of $2,48,000.

The top 25 in the money list make the cut for PGA Tour at the end of the season. With this, the Indian now has cards on four Tours — Asian, European, PGA and Nationwide.

And with just two tournaments to go in the Nationwide Tour, the 34-year-old, who lost his PGA card after a disastrous 2007 season, is unlikely to drop out of the top-25 after this massive win.

“I’ve been working for this all my career. Trying to win in America, and it feels really good. And also the fact that I’m getting my card back on the PGA Tour will be a sweet bonus, I’m looking forward to that,” an elated and relieved Atwal said after the thrilling win.

Leading by three strokes after the third round, Atwal (72) and overnight second and local favourite Webb Simpson (69) finished regulation play at Black Creek at 24-under 264, two strokes shy of the tournament record.

After a front-nine that was studded with a birdie and an eagle against a lone bogey, Atwal had a two-shot lead on the 16th tee but drove into a fairway bunker and had to chip out.

The Indian hit a poor third shot into a greenside bunker resulting in a double-bogey. Simpson made par on that hole leaving the duo tied.

Both then two-putted the par-five 18th for birdies before heading back to the tee for the play-off. Atwal kept his cool and hit a hybrid club to 25 feet before two-putting for a birdie. — PTI

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