Bengaluru: Faridabad-based Abhinav Lohan recorded his breakthrough win on the PGTI as he triumphed with a narrow one-shot margin at 13-under-275 at the Rs 40 lakh Bengaluru Open Golf Championship 2019 at the Karnataka Golf Association (KGA) course in Bengaluru on Friday (December 20). 

The 30-year-old Abhinav Lohan, who plays at the DLF Golf & Country Club in Gurugram, shot a top-class final round of four-under-68 to continue his dream season. It was Abhinav’s first title on the PGTI and second win of the year as he had also emerged victorious at the PGTI Feeder Tour event in Lucknow two months back to bag his first ever professional trophy.

Also read: Round 3 report

Chandigarh’s Karandeep Kochhar (71) finished runner-up at 12-under-276 at the tournament which constituted the penultimate leg of the 2019 PGTI season.

Abhinav (70-67-70-68), who along with the likes of Rashid Khan and Abhijit Singh Chadha, was part of the Indian team that won the silver medal at the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, had a memorable day at the KGA with seven birdies, a bogey and a double-bogey to show on his card.

Also read: Round 2 report

Abhinav, lying tied second and two shots off the lead before the final round, made a steady start with pars on the first four holes. Abhinav then took control picking up four birdies on the fifth, seventh, eighth and ninth, at the cost of a lone bogey on the sixth. He made a great recovery from the bunker on the fifth before converting a 10-footer to start off his birdie blitz. Abhinav found the water and dropped a stroke on the sixth but then rallied with birdies, all three within 10 feet, on the seventh, eighth and ninth.

Abhinav carried the momentum on to the back-nine with three consecutive birdies on the 12th, 13th and 14th where he made two 20-feet conversions. With the putter on fire, Abhinav had stretched his lead to a mammoth five shots after the 14th.

Also read: Round one report

There was a late twist though as Abhinav hit an erratic tee shot and followed it up with a three-putt on the 16th to drop a double-bogey. In the meantime, nearest rival Karandeep birdied the 15th to get within two shots of the leader.

Abhinav was a bit shaky on the 17th too as the finish line drew close. He found the trees there but managed to salvage a par with another 20-feet conversion to carry a two-shot cushion on to the last hole. The man from Faridabad finally sealed it with a par on the last hole.

Abhinav said, “I’m just relieved to win on the main tour for the first time. It’s my ninth season as a professional and I had come close to winning on quite a few occasions in the past. I then had a poor 2018 as I missed 10 cuts in a row and lost my PGTI card. So this victory is all the more sweet.

“I’ve had a very solid second half this season. I first won on the Feeder Tour which was a tense playoff victory and gave me the confidence and momentum to carry forward on to the main tour. I’ve also been in contention in Jaipur and Kolkata last week, finishing 11th and 10th respectively.

“I putted really well this week. I took only 28 putts today. I spent four months practicing at the KGA last season and that seems to have paid off this week as I was familiar with the course and knew the lines on the greens.

“After a terrific run on the first 14 holes today, I just had some mental glitches on the 16th and 17th. I must admit that I was a little bit nervous with victory in sight. But the long birdie conversion on the 17th really helped me relax as it gave me a two-shot advantage going onto the last hole.

“I then played safe on the last hole and hit a four-iron off the tee as I was looking for a par. The idea was to hit the green in three and let Karandeep go for broke in order to catch up with me. It worked out well for me. I’ll now head to the last event of the season with loads of confidence.”

Abhinav became the fourth Indian golfer to register his maiden title on the PGTI this season following the likes of Kshitij Naveed Kaul, Priyanshu Singh and Veer Ahlawat. Abhinav’s victory and winner’s cheque worth Rs 6,46,600 pushed him up from 43rd to 19th in the PGTI Rankings.

Karandeep (67-69-69-71), the third round leader by two shots, slipped with early bogeys on the third and fifth and a double-bogey on the sixth where he found the water. He then got back into the match with four birdies on the back-nine before falling just short with a 71. He moved up two spots in the PGTI’s money list from seventh to fifth.

The Bengaluru duo of M Dharma, who shot the day’s best round of 67, and Rahil Gangjee (71) took third and fourth places with totals of 11-under-277 and 10-under-278 respectively.

 Eighteen-year-old local amateur Akshay Niranjan (70), playing only his second professional event, took a creditable tied fifth place at nine-under-279 along with Om Prakash Chouhan (69) of Mhow.

Gurugram-based Veer Ahlawat, the highest-ranked player in the field, being third in the PGTI Order of Merit, was tied 17th at two-under-286.

Bengaluru-based Aryan Roopa Anand, the second amateur to make the cut, was placed tied 39th at four-over-292.