Jyoti Randhawa wins BILT Open golf, keeps record intact

December 28th, 2008 - 9:36 pm ICT by IANS  

Greater Noida, Dec 28 (IANS) Jyoti Randhawa, who has won each time he has teed up in an Indian Tour event the last five times, kept his record intact as he shot a stunning record-equalling eight-under 64 to forge ahead of front-runners Anirban Lahiri and Jeev Milkha Singh in the final round at the BILT Open at the Jaypee Greens Golf Resort here Sunday.Randhawa, who for all practical purposes brought the curtain down on 2008 when he drained his final putt at the Volvo Masters last week in Bangkok, must be glad that he was persuaded to bring the bag out for this week’s BILT Open.

In a nail-biting finish Jyoti finished at 19-under 269, while Jeev (67), needing a birdie from 12 feet was stranded at 18-under, as was Lahiri (71), who alternated between agony and ecstasy for most part of the day.

Jeev and Lahiri were tied for second at 18-under while Shiv Kapur (68) and Rahil Gangjee (70) were tied for fourth at 13-under. Amandeep Johl (68) and Shamim Khan (67) were tied for sixth at 11-under.

Gaganjeet Bhullar, a teammate of Lahiri at the 2006 Asian Games, shot 74 and ended eighth at 10-under, while Gurbaaz Mann (70) and Mandeo Singh Pathania (69) rounded off the top-10 at tied ninth at nine-under 279.

Jyoti collected a handsome cheque of Rs. 12,93,200 while Jeev and Lahiri picked up Rs. 6,97,200 each.

Randhawa has now won the last five times he has started out on the Indian PGTI Tour. He has won the BILT Open twice (2006 and 2008), DLF Masters twice (2007 and 2008) and AIS Open in 2007.

“Is it so,” he asked, as he lifted his son 20-month old son Zorawar. “I almost did not play and then PGTI’s Padamjit Sandhu requested me to tee up as it would make the tournament high profile. Then I felt as a PGTI Board member I should and I am glad I did. It means I did manage a win, even if right at the end. It will make the New year celebrations more cheerful,” said Jyoti. “I must mention Anirban Lahiri’s great effort. I think he has a great future. He played superbly.”

Jeev, who was playing his first Indian Tour event in more than four years said he was happy he had come and played here despite a heavy season.

“It was a great tournament and an exciting finish. And it was nice to see a good gallery. I must congratulate Jyoti for a brilliant finish in the final round and also Anirban Lahiri, who at 21 has so much promise,” said Jeev.

Lahiri, pleased with the high praise he drew from Jyoti and Jeev, said: “It is always nice to hear such encouraging words from players like Jeev and Jyoti. But for myself, I need to learn to close tournaments and as I have not been able to deliver the final punch.”

It was high quality golf through the day, which like the rest of the week began late on account of fog.

With 15 players still needing to complete their final round, the day began three hours late. But a smart decision on part of the chief referee, Sampath Chari ensured a full finish Sunday itself. Chari asked the players to go for the final without a re-draw for the final round and that may well have saved an hour as the last putt was sunk just as the sun was going down and darkness was about to set at the Jaypee Greens.

In the morning, Jyoti playing in the second last group was on fire, when he began the final round. After a sedate par, he had a hat-trick of birdies on second, third and fourth and suddenly at 14-under he was in contention. Lahiri, starting at 17-under, bogeyed the third and Jeev birdied the same hole to see a two-shot swing. Jeev had moved to 13-under and Lahiri was 16-under to set the stage for a classic finish.

Jyoti putting the ball in right places also putted like a dream. Three-under after four holes, he added two more birdies on the seventh and eighth and then when he sank birdies on the 10th and 12th, he was seven-under through 12 holes and at 18-under, he was the leader.

A blip on the 13th saw him drop a shot, but he quickly made up on the 15th with a brilliant eagle. After getting to the green in two, he sank a monster of a putt from more than 20 feet to go to 19-under.

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