After sinking a birdie on the final hole of the last round of the Panasonic Open,Digvijay Singh held high his long putter. For his bogey-free 6-under fourth round and his first international title,Digvijay had his new putter to thank.
A couple of months ago,he had switched from the conventional stick to a belly putter,one with a longer handle,and the effects were for all to see as he holed his 17th birdie of the week for a 11-under 277. Gaganjeet Bhullar finished second,two shots behind.
The 40-year old Digvijay became the oldest Indian winner of an Asian Tour title and admits it has been a frustrating wait. I came close a couple of times but couldnt convert on the last two days. I would see so many Indians winning on the Tour but it was never me. So I decided this time Ill play the weekend rounds as if they were the first two rounds, Digvijay said.
Apart from the relief of his maiden title,the win also gives Digvijay playing rights on the Tour for the next three years,a privilege he had lost last year after finishing outside the top-60. After birdies on the 4th and 7th there was a lull but the 13th hole birdie got him going again as he went on to birdie the 14th,16th and the finale hole,with the last coming from a 12-foot putt.
Though Bhullar was leading for a good part of the day,he couldnt hole as many putts and got unlucky with his tee-shot on the 17th. It was a similar story for halfway leader Siddikur,whose short game was off too and he finished tied second along with Bhullar.