Udayan Mane’s ‘steely resolve’ helps him triumph in ‘Steel City’ and bag the TATA Steel Tour Championship; Mane’s 26-under total sets a new PGTI record
SSP Chawrasia finishes runner-up
Rashid Khan bags a record third TATA Steel PGTI Order of Merit title with highest ever earnings in a season; Kshitij Naveed Kaul is PGTI Emerging Player of the Year
Jamshedpur, December 29, 2019: The 2019 TATA Steel PGTI season had a fitting finale as the battle for the season-ending TATA Steel Tour Championship went down to the wire at the Golmuri Golf Course with multiple contenders in the fray in the dying stages of the tournament.
But it was the Pune-based Udayan Mane’s ‘steely resolve’ that helped him triumph in ‘Steel City’ at the Rs. 1.5 crore event by a slim one-shot margin. Mane’s (67-66-64-65) determined final round effort of seven-under-65 saw him establish a new PGTI record for the lowest tournament total as he closed the week with a jaw-dropping 26-under-262.
It was Udayan’s eighth professional title and his second win on the PGTI this season. The impressive winning cheque worth Rs. 22,50,000 catapulted Mane from ninth to third place in the Final PGTI Order of Merit for 2019.
Kolkata-based Indian star SSP Chawrasia (63-67-65-68), who was leading by two shots till the 14th hole, carded a 68 on day four and thus had to settle for second place with another outstanding total score of 25-under-263.
Aman Raj (71) of Patna, the third-round leader, ended the week in tied third place at 23-under-265 along with Delhi’s Chiragh Kumar (67).
Udayan Mane, lying overnight fourth and three off the lead, made early gains on Sunday when he sank birdie-eagle on the third and fourth to raise his title hopes. The 6-foot-4-inch tall burly golfer drove the green on the par-4 fourth before knocking in a 24 feet putt.
Udayan made further inroads with birdies on the seventh and 11th thanks to his accurate iron-play. He had a quiet period over the next five holes before making the all-important birdie conversion from 10 feet on the 17th that helped him draw level for the lead with SSP Chawrasia. Mane, playing in the penultimate group, finally surged ahead with a chip-putt birdie on the 18th for an error-free 65 to set the mark at 26-under.
Four-time European Tour winner Chawrasia, playing in the leader group, needed a 12-feet birdie conversion on the last hole to take the match into a playoff. But SSP missed and Udayan clinched the trophy with a record total that eclipsed the previous best PGTI tournament total of 24-under fired by Anirban Lahiri (Aamby Valley, 2010), Shubhankar Sharma (Eagleton, 2016) and Rashid Khan (Chittagong, 2019).
An ecstatic Udayan, said, “I’m pretty pleased with the entire season having registered two wins. I started the year well but then had a rocky road from March to September. But that lean phase helped me learn a lot about myself and my golf swing and that in turn led to my better performances late in the year at Kensville (PGTI) and in Mauritius (Asian Tour).
“The biggest takeaway from this victory is that I won a tournament which had an elite field and at a time when so many players were playing their best golf. That is a big morale-booster.
“According to me, it was a good thing that I was not playing in the leader group. I was quite happy about that because I have come from behind to win on the last day on a few occasions in the past.
“After scoring well over the first 11 holes, I had a cold patch as I was not hitting it close enough. But I knew making birdie on the 17th was important because that would help me join SSP in the lead. I managed to do that and did well to carry the momentum onto the 18th.
“It’s special to end up with a record 26-under total. Interestingly, I also have the amateur record of 21-under in my name here at Golmuri. I thank my sponsor AVT for all their support which has been a major contributing factor to my good performances.”
SSP Chawrasia, playing in Jamshedpur after 12 years, made steady progress through the day as he kept landing it within four feet to collect birdies on the first, fourth, ninth and 12th. The two-time Indian Open champion drained a 12-footer for birdie on the 13th to take a two-shot lead. However, SSP stumbled with a bogey when he missed an up and down from the bunker on the 15th.
Chawrasia, a three-time winner in Jamshedpur in the past, missed his 12-feet birdie putt on the 18th that could’ve taken him into a playoff with Mane.
Chiragh Kumar’s flawless 67 helped him gain two spots and finish tied third, two strokes behind Chawrasia. Aman Raj also took a share of third after an eventful 71 that saw him make an eagle, five birdies, a bogey, a double-bogey and a triple-bogey.
Sri Lankan N Thangaraja (71) took fifth place at 22-under-266.
Faridabad’s Abhinav Lohan shot the day’s best round of 64 to end up in tied 13th at 15-under-273.
Indian star Gaganjeet Bhullar was placed tied 31st at 11-under-277. The two other Indian legends in the field, Jeev Milkha Singh and Jyoti Randhawa, finished tied 39th with matching totals of 10-under-278.
Jamshedpur’s Karan Taunk took tied 71st place at eight-over-296.
Rashid Khan emerges Order of Merit champion and Kshitij Naveed Kaul is Emerging Player of the Year
Rashid Khan of Delhi bagged a record third TATA Steel PGTI Order of Merit title after finishing tied 18th at 14-under-274 at the Tour Championship this week. Rashid, who had earlier won the title in 2013 and 2016, closed the 2019 season with earnings of Rs. 66,27,650, the highest ever for a PGTI season, to finish number one in the money list by a fair distance. He won two titles during the season and had 10 top-10s and thus became the first man to be crowned PGTI No. 1 for the third time. Bengaluru’s Chikkarangappa finished second on the PGTI Rankings with season’s earnings of Rs. 50,27,778. Chikka too secured tied 18th place in Jamshedpur this week.
Nineteen-year-old Kshitij Naveed Kaul of Delhi won the PGTI Emerging Player of the Year title with season’s earnings of Rs. 29,65,420, the highest among the rookies. Kshitij, who claimed tied ninth place at 19-under-269 at the season finale, ended a creditable sixth on the PGTI Order of Merit courtesy a win and eight top-10s in the year. Chandigarh’s Aadil Bedi, who also took a share of ninth place in Jamshedpur, finished second in the Emerging Player list with season’s earnings of Rs. 21,84,500. He was 10th in the PGTI’s money list.