Himmat Singh Rai wins PGTI Players Championship

February 6th, 2009 - 11:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Feb 6 (IANS) Young talent Himmat Singh Rai finished with an aggregate nine under 271 to post his first professional win at the PGTI Players Championship at the Tollygunge Golf Club here Friday. Rai’s final round 69 Friday ensured he remained two points abreast of Lucknow’s Sanjay Kumar, who finished second at seven under 273.

Kolkata’s S.S.P. Chowrasia climbed from overnight fourth to third as a result of his final round 68. He totalled six under 274 for the tournament.

Overnight leader Rai (65, 70, 67, 69) did not concede his lead at any moment during the final round as his accurate tee shots on the second and eighth (both par 3s) set up birdies for the Delhi-based professional.

Rai’s nearest rival, the vastly experienced Kumar, managed to catch up with him after the former bogeyed the 12th and 14th holes.

Rai three-putted from just off the green on the 12th and followed that up with another three-putt from 15 feet (downhill) on the 14th. The turning point came when Rai once again grabbed the sole lead after making a 25 feet birdie putt on the 16th.

An elated Rai said: “It’s like a dream come true for me. In fact, the victory hasn’t sunk in as yet. I was a little nervous at the start of the round today but the birdie on the second helped me settle down into my rhythm.

The champion went on to say, “It’s been very satisfying to lead from the day one. I have realized that it takes a lot to win. I made some changes to my swing about a month back under the guidance of my coach Romit Bose and that seems to have worked. The credit for my win goes to my parents and coach.”

Kumar (69, 66, 68, 70) now leads the Aircel-PGTI Order of Merit. In the final round, the 37-year-old came up with birdies on the second and seventh and bogeys on the ninth and 18th.

“I had a few chances today but could not convert them. A poor second shot on the ninth and an ordinary chip shot on the 18th led to my two bogeys during the final round,” said Kumar.

Chowrasia (68, 70, 68, 68) finished third at six under 274 while veteran Mukesh Kumar (67, 71, 71, 66) was a further stroke behind in fourth place.

The Kolkata duo of Feroz Ali Mollah and Raju Ali Mollah was tied eighth at even par 280.

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