Ahmedabad, 1 December : Delhi’s Shamim Khan coasted to a comfortable three-shot win the Rs. 40- lakh Kensville Open at Kensville Golf & Country Club near Ahmedabad here on Sunday.
The experienced Shamim, the overnight leader by two shots, posted a tenacious two-under-70 in the final round to emerge as the wire-to-wire champion with a winning total of 13-under-275. Khan thus lifted his 15th trophy on the TATA Steel PGTI which also accounted for his overall 17th professional win.
Pune-based Udayan Mane, the only player besides Shamim to return four sub-par rounds during the tournament, came up with a last round of 71 to secure the runner-up spot at 10-under-278.
Shamim Khan (66-68-71-70), who held the lead in all the three previous rounds, enjoyed his best day with the putter as he sank five birdies at the cost of three bogeys. The 41-year-old stretched his lead to three shots at the turn having made two 20-feet birdie conversions on the front-nine. He dropped two bogeys on the back-nine after finding a tree on one hole and a hazard on the other, but he still managed to close out the match with two birdies even as the others were unable to catch up with him.
Shamim’s first title after a one-year gap earned him prize money worth Rs. 6,46,600 that pushed him up from 30th place to 14th position in the TATA Steel PGTI Order of Merit.
Khan, known to have one of the most smooth golf swings in Indian golf, said, “I putted the best today as compared to the last three rounds and that set up my win. I also recovered well from tough positions on a couple of holes to make good bogeys.I knew I had it in the bag after I birdied the 14th and Udayan bogeyed the 15th. At that stage my lead grew to four shots with three holes left to play. I knew I could play safe from there on and win.
“This win really raises my confidence as it was achieved with a double-digit total score on a difficult course. In fact, only two players, Udayan and me, had a double-digit total this week. That reflects the tough scoring conditions at Kensville.
“I wasn’t having a great season until I arrived in Ahmedabad. But I feel that I can now carry this form into the last three events of the season,” added Shamim, the only man with career earnings in excess of Rs. 4 crore on the PGTI.
Udayan Mane (69-67-71-71), lying two off the lead in tied second after round three, shot a 71 on day four that featured three birdies and two bogeys. Mane had a poor start as he bogeyed the first hole. However, Udayan was looking good for a late surge when he picked up birdies on the eighth, ninth and 11th. He drained a 25-footer on the eighth and tapped-in on the 11th.
But missing the fairway with his drive on the 15th put paid to Mane’s hopes as he bogeyed that hole to concede an almost unassailable four-shot lead to Shamim.
The 28-year-old Udayan, said, “My opening hole bogey and Shamim’s two early birdies gave him the advantage. Shamim then matched me birdie for birdie so I didn’t really have too many opportunities. Nonetheless, I’m happy with the overall quality of my game this week.”
Chandigarh’s Abhijit Singh Chadha shot the day’s joint lowest round of 68 to claim tied third place at six-under-282 along with Om Prakash Chouhan (71) of Mhow. Gurugram’s Veer Ahlawat, the winner on the PGTI last week, took a share of fifth place along with Kolkata’s Sunit Chowrasia at five-under-283.
Ahmedabad’s Jay Pandya ended the tournament as the best amateur in tied 21st with a total of even-par-288. Last year’s champion Tapy Ghai of Gurugram took tied 29th place at three-over-291.Anshul Patel, the other Ahmedabad-based amateur who made the cut, finished 50th at 12-over-200.