The 28-year-old former caddie wins fifth professional title of his career in the form of PGTI Championship
As his caddie Kallu lifted Harendra Gupta on his shoulders,the former caddie Gupta could not hold back his tears. Gupta had worked as a caddie at the Chandigarh Golf Club for more than two years in the late 90’s and as Gupta won his third PGTI title at his home course,his celebrations said it all. The 28-year-old player shot a sedate one-over73 in the fourth and last round to emerge as the winner in the PGTI Players’ Championship which concluded at Chandigarh Golf Club on Friday.
It feels great to win a title at my home golf course. It’s my third PGTI title win and overall fourth title win at Chandigarh Golf Club. I started playing at the golf course in 1997 and it has been a great journey since then. The competition was tough in the tournament but I am happy that I maintained my lead today. The weather was bit hot in the afternoon and I managed the conditions well. Earlier in the day,it was bit cloudy but we all knew it would not rain. Luckily for me,it did not rain, shared Gupta,who pocketed a prize money of Rs 3 Lakhs for winning the title.
Gupta totaled 10-over-278 for the tournament. Vijay Kumar of Lucknow and Delhis Shamim Khan were in joint second at nine-under-279. Gupta (68-69-68-73),the overnight leader by three strokes,stayed ahead of the rest of the field by making a birdie and eight pars on the front-nine.
Harendra sank an 18-feet putt to birdie the sixth. The 28-year-old dropped his first bogey of the day when he missed a chip-putt on the 10th. However,Gupta continued to be in a commanding position as his nearest rivals Rashid Khan and Shankar Das went out of contention after dropping three strokes and two strokes respectively on the front-nine. Gupta seemed to have sealed it when he made birdie thanks to a good chip-putt on the 13th.
However,a poor tee-shot on the 15th resulted in a double-bogey for the local favourite. Vijay Kumar and Shamim Khan were just one shot behind Gupta at that stage. Harendra then held his nerve and made three pars in a row even as Vijay and Shamim failed to pick up a stroke on the last four holes.
My tee shots were very good today but I struggled with my short-game. I tried to play a little safe today and consciously decided not to play an aggressive game. Even after making double-bogey on the 15th,I knew pars on the last three holes will get me home. This victory will certainly help me in taking my game to another level, said Gupta,who will now be playing in the Golden Greens PGTI Championship before taking a break of more than two months.
Vijay Kumar (70-75-66-68) with six birdies and two bogeys in the fourth round finished in joint second at nine-under-279 along with Shamim Khan (68-73-69-69) who made three birdies in round four. Vijay sank four birdies in a row from the 11th through the 14th hole in the fourth round.
Chandigarh golfer Sujjan Singh secured tied fourth place along with Mukesh Kumar of Mhow,Patnas Md Islam and Sri Lankan Mithun Perera at seven-under-281. Chandigarh’s Angad Cheema,the lone amateur to make the cut,took away the trophy for the best performance by an amateur.
Chandigarh based Cheema totalled three-over-291 to grab a share of 20th place. Rahul Bajaj of Noida,who also finished tied 20th,made a hole-in-one on the 11th hole on Friday during his round of 79.