Randhawa grabs Thailand Open for eighth Asian Tour win (Lead)

March 8th, 2009 - 7:11 pm ICT by IANS  

Phuket, March 8 (IANS) Jyoti Randhawa grabbed sole lead by the fifth hole on the final day and never relinquished it en route to carding a five-under 65 and winning the Singha Thailand Open by a comfortable two-shot margin over co-leader Rhys Davies of Wales here Sunday.
Randhawa totalled 17-under 263 while Davies shot a 67 and ended at 15-under 265.

“I was so relaxed all week and I putted very well, especially on the third day,” said Randhawa. “I came pretty close to winning Malaysian Open and ended second and then seventh in Indonesia was good, too. But here in Phuket, I was in a holiday mood with my family and Digvijay and his wife and we were all enjoying ourselves.”

Randhawa shot 68-68 on the first two days and then followed it up with a 62 and 65 on the weekend. He began each of the four days with a birdie on first and a birdie on 18th. But on Sunday, he needed only a tap-in for par on the 18th to seal a fine win.

Randhawa said he spent much of the days before the tournament scuba diving and enjoying himself with his actress wife, Tina, and son, Zorawar, alongside brother-in-law and professional golfer, Digvijay Singh and his wife.

Randhawa last won outside India in 2004, when he won the Volvo Masters of Asia in Malaysia. Of his eight Asian Tour wins, five have come in India - with three in Singapore Open (2000), Volvo Masters in 2004 and now Thailand Open. He also won the Suntory Open in Japan in 2003.

Making a fine tournament for the huge Indian contingent was overnight co-leader S.S.P. Chowrasia (69), who finished in a tie for fourth - his best since the win at the Indian Masters last year. He was 13-under 267, while young guns Gaganjeet Bhullar (69) and Himmat Rai (65) also found a place in top-10 at tied 10th. It was Rai’s first career top-10.

A unique feature of the tournament was that each of the four days saw the best round from a player with an Indian connection. After Digvijay held the lead on first day with a 63, there were stunning cards of 62 each from Chowrasia and Randhawa on second and third days.

In the final day, it was Indo-Swede Daniel Chopra’s turn to take the spotlight with the days best of seven-under 63 that included two eagles on the back nine on the 12th and the difficult 17th. That propelled him from overnight 25th to tied sixth at 12-under 268.

Adding to the Indian cheer was Anirban Lahiri’s whose last day 64 saw him rise from 46th to 19th at nine-under 271. Shiv Kapur (69) was tied 32nd at six-under 274 and Amandeep Johl (75) and Digvijay Singh (76) were tied 64th and 66th.

Leading final round scores

263 - Jyoti Randhawa (IND) 68-68-62-65; 265 - Rhys Davies (WAL) 65-64-69-67; 266 - Lu Wei-chih (TPE) 65-68-68-65; 267 - Wu Ashun (CHN) 67-67-67-66, S.S.P. Chowrasia (IND) 66-62-70-69; 268 - Daniel Chopra (SWE) 67-69-69-63, Yasin Ali (ENG) 70-68-66-64; 269 - Mardan Mamat (SIN) 66-67-69-67, Kodai Ichihara (JPN) 68-66-68-67; 270 - Mark Purser (NZL) 68-69-70-63, Anthony Kang (USA) 67-70-68-65, Himmat Rai (IND) 65-72-68-65, Thongchai Jaidee (THA) 69-70-64-67, Chapchai Nirat (THA) 64-69-69-68, Gaganjeet Bhullar (IND) 64-66-71-69, Keith Horne (RSA) 65-69-68-68, Unho Park (AUS) 64-71-66-69, Juvic Pagunsan (PHI) 70-65-65-70

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