Two weeks ago,when Jyoti Randhawa finished second in the Malaysian Open,the three-time Indian Open winner had spoken about the importance of winning abroad again. As the 36-year-old put the finishing touches on his flawless round on Sunday that gave him his first international title in more than 16 months,he wouldve been a relieved man.
Randhawas eighth Asian Tour victory at the $500,000 Singha Thailand Open came with a five-under 65 last round,as he left behind closest finisher Rhys Davies by two strokes. I am glad that the win came so early in the season. I was disappointed after Malaysia but todays win has given me great confidence, Randhawa said,speaking to The Indian Express on the phone from Phuket.
As compatriot SSP Chowrasia stumbled on the front nine after having started the day with an eagle and Davies bogeyed the par-five 17th,Randhawa marched triumphantly along the tree-lined fairways at the Phuket Golf Club. But his charge had begun on the third day,as he shot an eight-under 62 to get into joint lead with Chowrasia and Davies. Seven birdies last afternoon gave me great confidence. I was taking my time to adjust on the first two days and that helped me on the weekend. But I was putting very well right from the start, said Randhawa,who will be hoping to break into the top-100 in world rankings now.
On his toes
Randhawas heart might have skipped a beat early in the afternoon as Davies kept pace with him on the rain-hit day. But the Indian kept his cool,and the Welshman bogeyed the par-three seventh to go two back. Davies kept me on my toes and it gave me an impetus to keep going. I needed to make birdies coming in and I am happy that they came for me at the right time, he said.
Randhawa also believes that the change in attitude is working. I know the Asian Tour circuit and the players well and it feels like a holiday whenever I play here. I am going scuba diving and driving on the highways and that has been relaxing, he said.
Chowrasia finished tied fourth with a 13-under 267. Gaganjeet Bhullar (69) and Himmat Rai (65) were the next best Indians,tied 10th with a 270 each. Anirban Lahiri shot a six-under 64 to jump up to tied 19th,while Shiv Kapur was 32nd.