Ganapathy wins AIS Open, moves to top of PGTI Order of Merit

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Gurgaon, Sep 13 (UNI) Despite being five strokes behind the overnight leader, Rahul Ganapathy fired a solid four under 68 in the final round as he registered an emphatic four stroke win to bag his third title this season at the AIS Golf Open here today.

While Ganapathy's total read 16 under 272, Ashok Kumar's 69 in the fourth round helped him finish second at 12 under 276.

Gaganjeet Bhullar, on the other hand, conceded his overnight five stroke lead after shooting a 79 today to end the tournament in third place with a total of 10 under 278.

Ganapathy (67, 67, 70, 68) pulled off an amazing win despite being five strokes behind overnight leader Gaganjeet Bhullar (70, 63, 66, 79) ahead of the final round.

The Mysore golfer stuck to his task with a bogey-free 68 even as Bhullar dropped strokes and gave away his lead in the early stages of his round.

He took the lead when he birdied the second and fifth while Bhullar at the same time dropped double bogeys on the second and fourth and a bogey on the fifth.

There was no looking back for Ganapathy from there on as he consolidated his lead with two more birdies on the eighth and 18th.

In the meantime, Gaganjeet slipped into third place as a result of more bogeys on the ninth, 12th and 18th.

He managed a lone birdie on the 14th. Ashok Kumar (68, 71, 68, 69) finished two strokes ahead of Bhullar in second place.

Ganapathy has now moved to the top of the Order of Merit for 2007-08.

He was third on the Order of Merit prior to the AIS Golf Open 2008. Ganapathy said, ''It feels great to win my third title this season and also lead the Order of Merit. I think I am playing the best golf of my career at the moment.

''The Golden Greens golf course is also turning out to be very lucky for me because I have now won two of my three professional titles here.

''I think I came through this week because I did not make too many mistakes and made only four bogeys during the course of the tournament, three in the third round and one in the second. As far as the final round is concerned, I knew I had to try and put pressure on the first nine and get as close to Gaganjeet as possible. Luckily for me, he made a lot of mistakes on the first few holes. That made my task easier and once I overtook him on the fifth, I decided to play safe and make regulations from there on,'' he added.

Ashok Kumar gradually worked his way up the leaderboard to finish runner-up at the AIS Golf Open 2008. His three under 69 today was punctuated by birdies on the third, ninth, 12th, 14th, 18th and bogeys on the first and sixth.

Kumar's birdie on the 18th helped him edge past Bhullar to secure second place. Bhullar had bogeyed the same hole.

Digvijay Singh (68, 69, 75, 68) finished fourth at eight under 280.

Gaurav Ghei (70, 73, 68, 70) ended the tournament in tied fifth at seven under 281 along with Feroz Ali Mollah, C Muniyappa and Chiragh Kumar.

Mukesh Kumar (70, 72, 74, 70) totaled two under 286 to be tied 11th. Harendra Gupta (70, 72, 74, 76) finished tied 26th at four over 292.


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