Kensville Challenge golf: German Kieffer edges out Gangjee in play-off

January 29th, 2012 - 10:16 pm ICT by IANS  

Ahmedabad, Jan 29 (IANS) Rahil Gangjee was three clear of the field, with four holes to go and seemed to have sewn up the title at the Gujarat Kensville Challenge 2012 Sunday. Gangjee faltered on the home straight and allowed Max Kieffer to get a toehold, which the young German converted into a title in the first play-off hole at the Kensville Golf and Country Club.

Gangjee (71), one clear of the field at the start ended regulation play, finished at seven-under 281, while Kieffer made up the one-shot deficit with which he had started. His 70 brought him to 281 and they went into the play-off.

It was a see-saw battle right till the end of regulation play after which Gangjee gave it away with a shot that he would otherwise have accomplished 99 out of 100 times - a bunker shot from the edge, which in this case hit the lip and went into the stream ahead, dashing all his hopes of ending an eight-year title drought.

Kieffer won a cheque of 32,000 euros which was presented to him by Sameer Sinha, Jaxay Shah and Jigesh Shah of the Savvy Group. Gangjee received 22,000 euros.

There was a three-way tie for third place with Paul Dwyer (68), Andreas Harto (71) and Callum Macaullay (70) at five-under 283.

Gangjee’s second place was a big boost for Kensville Challenge, which in the previous year had provided an Indian winner in Gaganjeet Bhullar, who was tied 36th this time. Shiv Kapur, who had shared the midway lead with Gangjee shot 72 on the final day and ended tied ninth at one-under 287.

On the play-off hole, Gangjee said: “The ball was in the bunker near the lip, which was about a foot high. But I did not even think about it. I hit a 5-iron and the ball hit the lip and went into water. I least expected it and it ended my chances.”

Kieffer, who missed coming to India two years ago for the Bonallack Cup - an amateur event between Europe and Asia-Pacific teams - finally made it and his maiden trip was a winning one.

“I was looking forward to India two years ago and then I turned professional. It was a tight finish and it really means a lot to me,” said Kieffer.

He added, “This definitely sets me up for the season very nicely, it’s great to win the first tournament of the year and especially as the prize money is good.”

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