Rahil Gangjee wins PGTI Players Championship

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Kolkata, Jun 21 (UNI) Local lad Rahil Gangjee carded a brilliant four under 65 in the final round with a tournament total of nine under 234 to win the PGTI Players Championship at Royal Calcutta Golf Club here today.

Anirban Lahiri of Secunderabad and 2006-07 PGTI Order of Merit winner Ashok Kumar finished joint second with an overall score of four under 239.

SSP Chowrasia and Delhi-based Himmat Singh Rai were a further stroke behind in tied fourth place.

Rahil Gangjee won his first PGTI title after posting scores of 34, 69, 66 and 65 through the week.

In the final round, the 29-year-old was in total control of the situation from the very outset. He began well by sinking a long putt for birdie on the par three second hole. Things got even better as Gangjee holed a 25 feet putt to save par on the fourth after having played an ordinary chip shot. He then dropped a bogey on the seventh but soon recovered with a birdie on the very next hole.

On the back nine, Gangjee kept the momentum going with seven pars and birdies on the 13th and 14th.

''It feels amazing to win at home. I hit the ball really well today and my putting was exceptional. There were no three-putts today and none of my putts fell short. I think the turning point for me today was the good par save on the fourth where I made a long putt,'' he said.

''I was really pumped up from then on. I also had a couple of very good tee shots on the 13th and 14th which made a huge difference in the end. This moment is all the more special because I have won a professional title after a long time,'' said Gangjee who pocketed Rs 4,84,950 for his effort.

''I attribute my success to the work I have put in with my coach Ajai Gupta and my physical trainer Anwar Wahhab. Ajai gave me some valuable tips for my swing that helped me a great deal this week.

Anwar has helped me with my fitness. I have been working hard in the gym of late. Now I will head to my next Asian Tour event in Thailand with a lot of confidence,'' he added.

Rahil Gangjee, with this win has now moved to eighth on the 2007-08 PGTI Order of Merit.

Anirban Lahiri was a distant second along with Ashok Kumar at four under 239.

Lahiri, who had won PGTI's Qualifying School last year shot scores of 38, 66, 67 and 68 this week. In the final round, Lahiri made an eagle on the par five fourth, birdies on the fifth, 15th and 17th, bogeys on the 14th and 18th and a double bogey on the 12th.

''I am a little disappointed to have finished second but at the same time am pleased about the fact that this is my best finish on the PGTI. I have had a slump over the past few months but this performance could be the turning point for me,'' said the 20-year-old Lahiri adding ''I started well today but a couple of bad drives on the 12th and 14th played spoiler for me.'' Ashok Kumar (34, 67, 70, 68) joined Lahiri in tied second place.

His round of one under 68 was marked by birdies on the fourth, eighth, 13th, 15th and bogeys on the second, sixth and seventh.

Indian Masters champion SSP Chowrasia (35, 70, 68, 67) was tied fourth at three under 240.

His final round of 67 was highlighted by birdies on the sixth, ninth, 10th, 16th and a double bogey on the seventh.

Himmat Singh Rai (39, 68, 65, 68) shared fourth place with Chowrasia.

Another local Yusuf Ali (35, 72, 66, 68) was sixth at two under 241 while Arjun Singh (37, 68, 65, 73) finished seventh at even par 243.

Digvijay Singh (36, 68, 73, 67) finished tied eighth at one over 244 along with Dayal Singh, Manav Jaini, Uttam Singh Mundy and Chiragh Kumar.

Harendra Gupta (33, 65, 72, 77) ended the tournament at four over 247 for a share of 20th place alongside Rahul Ganapathy (36, 68, 70, 73).

Mukesh Kumar (35, 72, 71, 70) and Vijay Kumar (36, 73, 70, 69) ended up with an identical total of five over 248 to be tied 23rd.

Gaganjeet Bhullar's (39, 69, 70, 72) overall score of seven over 250 helped him finish tied 28th.

Akshay Butta (37, 72, 71, 73) took home the amateur's trophy as his total of 10 over 253 was the best amateur score. His final position was tied 38th.


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