Bangalore, June 13 (UNI) Veteran professional Golfer Gagan Verma today lifted the LG Indian Amateur Title.
In the final round at the Eaglaton Golf Course, the Delhi lad held on his nerve to submit a level par 72 card even as his nearest rival Vikram Rana made a double bogey on the 16th, thus giving Gagan a chance to win by a solitary stroke.
"I am so happy and relieved that I won, especially since I thought I was being chased by the golf demons. All my good shots ended up being in trouble from where it was difficult to navigate. I thought I would never win," said beaming Gagan.
Gagan finished with a tournament tally of 3-under 285 to top the leaderboard while Vikram with a final round of 1-over 73, had to be content with a runner-up finish at 286 after both had begun the day on even terms. Youngsters Rashid Khan and Abhinav Lohan both submitted a card of 1-over 73 to be tied for the third spot at 289 while Rahul Bakshi and Manav Das shared the fifth position at 290.
HS Kang with 291 was seventh, while Bangalore lad Abhisehk Jha was eighth at 293. Saurabh Bahuguna was ninth at 294. Another Bangalore lad Chikkarangappa shot a dismal 81 on the final day to finish 16th.
Gagan who played brilliant golf through out the day found himself in trouble even on good golfing shots. The lanky lad went one ahead of Vikram on the very first hole which Vikram bogeyed. Both birdied the second while Vikram evened it on the fourth with another birdie.
However he lost the advantage on the par-5 sixth when he went 1-over. He (Gagan) then made two consecutive birdies on the seventh and eighth to go three shots ahead. However before he could take the turn, the 37-year-old committed a mistake on the ninth to reduce the lead to two strokes.
To make things more interesting, Gagan bogeyed the 13th as just a stroke differentiated the two. But the turning point came on the par-5 16th where Gagan bogeyed while Vikram hit the water and made a double bogey. With just two holes to go and two-shot difference, both made pars on the penultimate hole. Vikram made a birdie on the finishing hole while Gagan saved a brilliant par after being over the green.
"I am happy with the victory although I think I could have played much better golf," said Gagan who will be vying for a spot in the Eisenhover Cup team next month. "The 16th proved to be my nemesis. I was thinking to get the ball on the right but unfortunately I hit the water," said Vikram after his one-shot loss.
Top scores after 72 holes: 285 Gagan Verma (72, 68, 73, 72); 286 Vikram Rana (70, 72, 71, 73); 289 Rashid Khan (71, 76, 69, 73), Abhinav Lohan (72, 72, 72, 73); 290 Rahul Bakshi (78, 70, 70, 72), Manav Das (75, 69, 73, 73); 291 HS Kang (74, 68, 75, 74); 293 Abhishek Jha (75, 75, 71, 72); 294 Saurabh Bahuguna (72, 74, 74, 74); 296 Rahul Bajaj (76, 77, 72, 71), Karan Singh (73, 75, 76, 72), Karan Vasudeva (74, 74, 74, 74); 297 Samresh Sardar (74, 74, 78, 71); 298 SK Lakra (74, 73, 80, 71), Simarjeet Singh (76, 74, 72, 76); 299 Chikkarangappa (74, 69, 75, 81).
UNI MSP RS SKB1803