Anirban Lahiri lived up to his promise as he converted his overnight lead into a winning performance in the final round of the PGTI-McLeod Russel Tour Championship at the Royal Calcutta Golf Club here on Sunday.
The Bangalore-based golfer carded a three-under-69 on the final day to realise an impressive aggregate of 17-under-271 and clinch his 13th professional title in style. Kolkata’s Rahil Gangjee finished runner-up at 13-under-275.
Lahiri (66, 71, 65, 69), the overnight leader by three strokes, encountered an early setback in the final round as he double-bogeyed at the second hole after his second shot ricocheted off a water sprinkler.
The 26-year-old showed good nerve under pressure firing six birdies thereafter — on the fourth, fifth, ninth, 12th, 16th and 17th — to ensure an invincible lead.
Compared to the previous three rounds, Lahiri displayed extraordinary putting skills as he sank birdie putts from 15 to 20 feet on the fifth, ninth, 16th and the 17th. He also landed his approach within two feet for a tap-in birdie on the 12th. Lahiri’s only error on the back-nine was the bogey on the closing 18th.
“I’m really delighted winning my first title RCGC, where I have been coming since the age of 11. The double-bogey early in the day helped me focus better as it shook me up mentally,” said Lahiri, who still holds the PGTI’s record of best score in four-rounds.
Lahiri scored 24-under-264 in 2010 to eclipse the record of 22-under set by Jyoti Randhawa in 2007. “The year 2013 season turned out to be the most consistent one for me as I won four titles this year. The win today gives me a further boost for the coming season,” said Lahiri, who bagged the winner’s purse worth Rs. 21,39,750.
Rahil Gangjee (70, 68, 68, 69) gave the closest challenge to his good friend. Gangjee had an eventful front-nine where he made five birdies, which included some long putts on the first, second and fifth.
But in the eagerness to produce a better score he committed three birdies that somewhat neutralised his gains. He had a relatively quieter back-nine with two birdies and a bogey as he ended up with a three-under-69 for the day.
Abhinav Lohan of Faridabad and Delhi’s Chiragh Kumar finished tied third at 10-under-278. Jyoti Randhawa was a further shot behind in fifth place.
Rashid Khan of Delhi earned the sixth place at eight-under-280, which clinched him the No. 1 on the Rolex rankings and the PGTI order-of-merit.
Rashid’s total earnings for the 2013 season were — Rs. 46,38,284, which also fetched him the Rolex player-of-the-year title.
Final scores: 271 Anirban Lahiri (66, 71, 65, 69); 275 Rahil Gangjee (70, 68, 68, 69); 278 Abhinav Lohan (68, 70, 69, 71), Chiragh Kumar (71, 69, 65, 73); 279 Jyoti Randhawa (67, 72, 71, 69); 280 Rashid Khan (72, 69, 70, 69); 281 Sanjay Kumar (68, 68, 71, 74); 282: Mithun Perera (70, 72, 70, 70), S. Chikkarangappa (70, 71, 71, 70), Gaganjeet Bhullar (71, 71, 69, 71), Angad Cheema (69, 72, 68, 73).