Cool Kochhar holds off Chowrasia

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 12

Local lad Karandeep Kochhar carded a 69 under pressure in the fourth and final round to win the TATA Steel PGTI Players Championship at the Chandigarh Golf Club, his home turf, today. The 21-year-old, who first won on PGTI as an amateur aged 17 in 2016, ended up with a total of an 18-under 270 to win by two strokes at the Rs 30 lakh event. Kochhar, who took home a cheque of Rs 4.85 lakh, has climbed from seventh to second position on the PGTI Order of Merit, behind Pune-based Udayan Mane. Sunit Chowrasia of Kolkata broke the course record with a sensational 10-under 62 to secure the runners-up spot at a 16-under 272.

Kochhar, whose overnight lead was four strokes, kept his nerve on the final day to register his first win on PGTI in four years, having come close on several occasions. He had hoped for a good stretch over the first six holes today, and he managed to do it, collecting birdies on the first two holes to get his confidence going. He missed a couple of birdie chances before a three-putt bogey on the 10th. A good par followed on the 12th, where Kochhar two-putted from 70 feet. Standing on the 16th tee, he realised that Chowrasia had caught up with him at 16-under. Kochhar responded to the challenge, picking up timely birdies on the 16th and 17th, where he sank a 20-footer from the fringe.

“I came close to winning several times in the past and had many top-10 and top-5 finishes over the past three years. So it’s a big relief to finally cross the line and that too at my home course,” said Kochhar. “I got the perfect start and then had a nervy phase between the ninth and the 15th. However, I kept my calm and stuck to my task. On the 16th tee I found out Sunit’s score and knew I had to make a birdie thereafter. I managed to do that and the 20-feet birdie conversion on the 17th was crucial as it gave me a two-shot cushion and helped me avoid the pressure on the last hole,” he added..

Chowrasia shines

Chowrasia, who had carded 69-69-72 over the first three days, was overnight 14th and nine off the lead. But he had a blazing start today as he birdied the first three holes, followed by birdies on the eighth and ninth. Five-under after nine holes, Chowrasia had a bogey on the 10th but came roaring back with birdies on the 11th, 13th and 14th.

Another local golfer, Akshay Sharma (69), the winner at last week’s PGTI event, was third at a 14-under 274. Chandigarh golfer Yuvraj Singh Sandhu (67) and Gurugram’s Veer Ahlawat (70) were joint fourth at 13-under. Abhijit Singh Chadha (66) was tied-6th at 11-under and Aadil Bedi (68) ended up tied-10th at a 9-under 279. Udayan Mane (67) was tied-14th at 8-under.

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