Abhijit Chadha caps recent good run with win after six years

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The Pune Open win is validation of Abhijit Chadha's form of late --- two top-10s and an 11th place finish in his last three events.
The Pune Open win is validation of Abhijit Chadha's form of late --- two top-10s and an 11th place finish in his last three events.

Abhijit Singh Chadha cruised to a comfortable six-shot win after shooting a solid last round of four-under 66, his third consecutive bogey-free round, at the Pune Open at the Poona Club Golf Course.

Thirty-year-old Abhijit (63-65-64-66), leading by one shot at the end of Round Three, sank four birdies on Saturday, to end up with an impressive winning total of 21-under 258.

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He negotiated the tough conditions to perfection through the week as he went error-free for 71 holes after his bogey on the first hole in Round One. Abhijit thus lifted his third title which also accounted for his first win in six years. He took home a prize cheque worth Rs. 6,46,600 to move up nine spots to 15th place in the PGTI Order of Merit.

Rookie Kartik Sharma (66-60-67-71), who was placed second, one shot off the lead, after Round Three, returned a one-over 71 on the final day to finish second at 15-under 264. Kartik’s round featured a birdie and two bogeys as the putts didn’t roll in for him. Nonetheless, it was a career-best finish for the left-hander who moved up seven spots to 18th place on the merit list. It was also Kartik’s fifth top-10 this season.

 

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Sunit Chowrasia shot the day’s best score for the second day in succession to finish third at 13-under 266. In Round Four, Chowrasia’s 65 was matched by Yuvraj Singh Sandhu (tied eighth at seven-under 272), C Muniyappa (tied 17th at three-under 276) and Ankur Chadha (tied 26th at two-over 281).

The par for the course was 70 during Round Four. Play commenced on time on Saturday. The day witnessed a light drizzle in the afternoon towards the closing stages of the tournament.

Abhijit, a silver medallist from the 2010 Asian Games, dominated the proceedings from the outset in round four as he began pulling away from the rest of the field early on. After nearest challenger Kartik missed the green and the subsequent chip-putts to drop bogeys on the second and third, Abhijit further capitalized with 10-feet birdie conversions on the fifth and sixth to stretch his lead to a massive five shots.

 

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Thereafter, Kartik could not convert his opportunities on the greens and Abhijit maintained his lead before further extending it with birdies on the 16th and 17th making a mammoth 66-feet putt on the latter. Abhijit emerged triumphant by six shots after Kartik picked up a birdie on the 18th hole.

Abhijit, who is a football fan and enjoys listening to Punjabi music, said, “I’m very proud of my effort as I handled myself really well the whole week especially with the conditions not being favourable.

“I didn’t expect it to be so calm today but Kartik made a few mistakes early on and I capitalized on them. From there on, it was just about keeping the ball in play. So I was quite relaxed for most of the round.

 

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“I’ve had two top-10s and an 11th place finish in my last three events. So the game has been on the upswing and I’ve been shooting good numbers for a while.

“When I holed that final putt, it was a feeling of relief and also validation of all the hard work that I’ve done and the inputs that I’ve got coming from everywhere. It’s great to see everything coming together.

“My caddie, the seasoned Raju, did a great job. He was superb and very professional throughout the week.”

Syed Saqib Ahmed (69) took fourth place at nine-under 270.

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