Mukesh wins Solaris Chemtech Open

February 13th, 2009 - 9:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Gurgaon, Feb 13 (IANS) Mukesh Kumar returned to his winning ways with a comprehensive five-stroke victory at the Aircel-PGTI’s Solaris Chemtech Open Golf Championship here Friday.
The 43-year-old from Mhow, who last won a professional title in August last year, shot the final day’s best score, a five under 67, at the Golden Greens Golf and Country Club to take his tournament total to 16 under 272. Kolkata’s Rahil Gangjee carded three under 69 in the final round to finish second with a total of 11 under 277. M. Dharma’s 10 under 278 total earned him third place.

Mukesh’s (68, 70, 67, 67) win accounted for his fifth title on the Aircel-PGTI as it added to his tally of four titles from the 2007-08 PGTI season. He thus equaled Ashok Kumar’s record of maximum wins on the tour. He also became the leader in the Aircel-PGTI Order of Merit as a result of his latest triumph. Mukesh was seventh on the Order of Merit before the tournament.

The veteran Mukesh consolidated on his two-stroke lead from round three and never gave his nearest rivals, Gangjee and Dharma, an opportunity to close-in on him on the final day. He had all but sealed the title when he made the turn, having sunk birdies on the second, fifth, sixth and an eagle on the ninth. On the back nine Mukesh hung on to his comfortable lead after making birdies on the 14th and 16th and bogeys on the 12th and 15th.

“It’s great to have won my first event at the Golden Greens course by such a huge margin. My iron-play was solid and putting was exceptional throughout this event and that is what made all the difference at the end. I did not miss too many putts this week. I had a terrific eagle today on the par five ninth where I hit the green in two and then made a 20 feet putt from left to right,” Mukesh said.

“I played with a very cool mind today and just decided to play it safe instead of taking too many risks by attacking the pin. I was confident from the very outset that even though Gangjee would attack he would not be able to catch up with me on this course. Overall, it’s been a highly satisfactory win since it has got me back into winning mode after a gap of almost six months,” he added.

Anirban Lahiri ended the tournament in fourth place at eight under 280 while Arjun Singh and Gaurav Pratap Singh posted matching totals of six under 282 to be tied fifth. Defending champion Rahul Ganapathy managed a tied 15th place finish after ending up with a tournament total of even par 288.

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