Manav Jaini survived a scare against Mithun Perera to make the final of the SRF matchplay championship, here on Friday.
In the title clash on Saturday, Jaini will meet top seed Ashok Kumar, who got past fifth seed Chiragh Kumar 3 and 2 in the other semifinal.
Jaini, who was leading 4-up after the 12th hole and slipped thereafter, rode his luck on the 20th hole to ward off a strong challenge from Perera. The sixth-seeded Jaini started by losing the first hole. However, he got his act together to win the next four holes in a row.
Except for the birdie on the second, a par each on the rest three was enough for Jaini as Perera struggled because of the windy conditions in the morning.
A birdie on the eighth and a superb eagle on the 10th helped Jaini consolidate his lead even though he could not stop Perera from winning the seventh.
Perera got into the rhythm in the later half of the contest and posed a threat to Jaini. The 55th-ranked Sri Lankan, who had defeated three top-seeded players in earlier rounds, scored an awesome birdie on the 13th and banked on Jaini's mistakes on the 15th and 16th before winning the crucial 18th to take the match to the tie-breaker.
The fight went neck and neck as both earned an eagle each on the 19th. On the 20th, Perera missed a 17-foot birdie putt, while Jaini secured a 15-footer.
“As the game progressed, I lost the momentum while he got it and played well. I had to hang on there and do my best,” said the 27-year-old Jaini.
Ashok rallied from two holes down to record a convincing victory over Chiragh. Ashok bagged the eighth, 10th, 11th, 12th and 14th holes after losing the fourth and fifth.
He made some fine long putts to garner birdies on the 10th, 11th and 12th.
Ashok's performance was studded with an eagle on the par-5 14th hole. He found the mark from six feet following a precise second shot.