Continuing his dream run, Shubhankar Sharma rallied to snatch the Rs 1.5 crore McLeod Russel Tour Championship 2017 in Kolkata on Sunday to sign off the season with three wins.
The 21-year-old from Chandigarh, who recently became the youngest Indian to win on the European Tour, prevailed over Delhi’s Rashid Khan by one shot in a thrilling finish at the PGTI season-ending championship at the Royal Calcutta Golf Club.
Trailing by two shots till the 14th hole, Shubhankar turned it around in the final stages to end up with a round of 68 and a winning total of 17-under-271.
He thus took home his sixth professional trophy and the winner’s cheque of Rs 22,50,000.
The 26-year-old Rashid (71) led the last two days but only to finish with a total of 16-under-272.
Shamim Khan of Delhi bagged his second PGTI Order of Merit title after finishing tied fourth at eight-under-280 this week.
Khan, who had earlier won the title in 2012, closed the 2017 season with earnings of Rs 51,64,233 to finish number one in the money list by a fair distance. He won three titles during the season.
Ahmedabad’s Udayan Mane, who also bagged three titles in the season, the joint-highest with Shamim, came in second on the money list with season’s earnings of Rs 43,14,251.
He posted a tied 18th finish at RCGC with a total score of two-under-286 for the week.
Shubhankar (66-70-67-68) began the day two shots behind the overnight leader Khan (67-67-67-71) but caught up with the latter on the eighth thanks to three birdies including two tap-ins.
Khan then produced some magic by holing out from 150 yards for an eagle-two on the ninth to regain his two-shot lead. A two-time Asian Tour winner, Khan, was two ahead after the 14th and looking good for his 10th title.
Shubhankar then clawed his way back with an excellent bunker shot on the 15th that led to a birdie. Khan found the water on the 15th and the hole witnessed a two-shot swing in favour of Shubhankar that brought him back on an even keel.
Both the players raised the intensity of the contest by making birdies on the next hole. However, the 17th proved to be decisive as Khan’s poor chip shot resulted in a bogey and saw him fall back by one shot.
Shubhankar finally converted a tricky 10-feet par putt on the last hole to clinch his second PGTI title of the season and also his second professional title at the RCGC.
In the process, Shubhankar equalled the lowest winning score at the McLeod Russel Tour Championship earlier posted by Anirban Lahiri during his 2013 triumph.
Kolkata’s Rahil Gangjee (71) finished third at nine- under-279.
Delhi’s Shamim Khan, Kolkata’s Viraj Madappa, Mohammad Siddikur Rahman of Bangladesh and Gurgaon-based Manu Gandas were bunched in tied fourth at eight-under-280.
Local favourite and former champion SSP Chawrasia finished tied 10th at five-under-283.
Twenty-year-old Viraj Madappa of Kolkata won the PGTI Emerging Player of the Year title with season’s earnings of Rs 23,49,641, the highest among the rookies.