Mukesh beats Gaganjeet in playoff to win title

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Chandigarh, Mar 30 (UNI) Mhow based pro Mukesh Kumar used all his experience to beat young Gaganjeet Bhullar on the first playoff hole to claim the inaugural Centurion Bank of Punjab Open Golf title here today.

Mukesh and Gaganjeet were involved in a playoff for the title as the two finished at the top of the leaderboard with an identical total of fourteen under 274 after 72 holes. Manav Jaini finished third with a total of six under 282.

Mukesh's dream run in the 2007-08 season continued when he converted a 12 feet putt on the first playoff hole to clinch the title. He shot rounds of 67, 69, 68 and 70 to total fourteen under 274 for the week.

Mukesh started the final day with a five stroke lead over his nearest rival Gaganjeet Bhullar. However, the 42-year-old veteran looked a nervous starter when he bogeyed the first two holes.

He then picked up birdies on the third, fifth and sixth. Mukesh made the turn at level par after dropping a bogey on the eighth.

The professional from Mhow then played a solid back nine by making seven pars and two birdies (13th and 18th). The overnight leader almost let the title slip as Bhullar caught up with him on the 16th and then took a one stroke lead on the 17th. But Mukesh struck back with a birdie on the 18th to be tied with Bhullar. The match then went to a playoff and Mukesh edged out Bhullar on the first playoff hole by making a 12 feet putt for birdie. Bhullar on the other hand landed his approach shot over the green and then could not chip-in for a birdie.

Gaganjeet (69, 69, 71, 65) was unfortunate to miss out on his first professional win despite firing 65 to equal the course record He began his fourth round with a bogey on the first hole. He then closed the gap between himself and Mukesh by playing some incredible golf by sinking birdies on the fourth, fifth, ninth, 12th, 13th, 15th, 16th and 17th.

Manav Jaini (71, 70, 70, 71) finished third at six under 282. His fourth round of 71 included six birdies and five bogeys.

Chandigarh's Harendra Gupta (71, 72, 68, 72) was fourth at five under 283. Vijay Kumar (69, 69, 72, 75) was two strokes behind Gupta in fifth place. Arjun Singh (72, 74, 70, 72) ended in tied 10th place at even par 288.

Digvijay Singh (76, 72, 70, 72) continues to be second on the PGTI Order of Merit after finishing tied 17th with a total of two over 290.

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