Kapur had not played much golf coming into the Panasonic Open India, but he proved that less can be more. He was never far off the lead and a spurt of four birdies in five holes on the back nine on Sunday sealed a three-shot victory.
It continued the dominance of Indian players in the event, as only once in the seven editions has a foreign player triumphed.
When victory was finally achieved, Kapur’s reaction was pretty low-key, before he was splayed with water by a few of his close friends in front of large gallery at the 18th green.
“It is a special victory. I felt a certain calmness throughout the week and was patient on the golf course. There were a lot of nerves, but I overcome them. The fact that I made just two bogeys and two double bogeys in 72 holes points to my consistency and the quality of my bad shots,” the 35-year-old said after a round of 4-under 68 and an aggregate of 17-under 271.
As many as seven players finished in a tie for second place – including overnight co-leader Paul Peterson of the United States, and a plethora of Indians such as Ajeetesh Sandhu, former champions SSP Chawrasia and Chiragh Kumar and PGTI players Karandeep Kochhar, Om Prakash Chouhan and Sudhir Sharma.
Kapur had a slow start to his round, with only one birdie on the front nine. Peterson had lost ground with tow bogeys, but when Kapur dropped a shot at the par-4 10th, it provided an opportunity for Sharma to take the lead with a birdie. It was unchartered territory for the golfer from Meerut, who has not even won on the PGTI and sat at No.55 on the domestic tour’s Order of Merit.
It was here that Kapur decided to take charge of the tournament with four birdies in five holes. “The bogey on 10 fired me up and I started to play aggressively. I decided to take the tournament by the scruff of the neck.”
Interestingly, he turned to cricket to find the inspiration he needed. “I watching the cricket yesterday (second India-New Zealand T20I in Rajkot) and when Virat Kohli came in to bat, he took on the bowlers from the very start. I told myself to have the same attitude and go out and get the victory,” he said.
Kapur did exactly the same, and it was only when he reached the last two holes with a three-shot lead that he tried to preserve what he had.
Chiragh, who won the tournament two years ago, carded the best round of the day – an 8-under 64 – while first-round leader Ajeetesh, who came into the tournament with two successive victories, bounced back with a 65 to be tied second.
A lot was expected of Chawrasia in the final round, but the Kolkata professional did not get the birdies when he needed and could never get close enough to the leader.
Brief scores: Shiv Kapur 65-69-69-68 (-17); Chiragh Kumar 68-71-71-64 (-14), Ajeetesh Sandhu 64-73-72-65 (-14), Karandeep Kochhar 71-68-69-66 (-14), SSP Chawrasia 67-69-69-69 (-14), Sudhir Sharma 69-70-66-69 (-14), Om Prakash Chouhan 70-69-66-69 (-14), Paul Peterson 69-64-70-71 (-14)