Gagan lifts LG Indian Amateur title

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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 his nerve to play a level par 72 card, 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.

H S 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 throughout 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.

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