New Delhi, March 28: Mardan Mamat claimed an emphatic five-stroke victory in the US$300,000 Royal Challenge Indian Open today to become the first player from Singapore to win on the Asian Tour.
The victory, worth US$50,000, was long overdue for the Singaporean number one, who in recent months produced three top-10s in Asia, including a tied eighth finish at last week’s European Tour-sanctioned Caltex Masters in Singapore where he played in the final group at the weekend.
“I’ve waited very long for this and it’s coming after 10 years. It is really sweet,” said an emotional Mardan, who finished on 18-under-par 270.
He credited his yoga guru Sukhdev Singh for keeping him calm despite entering the final day needing to chase leader Del Olmo. “This morning, Sukhdev spent a lot time with me and told me to relax and not think about winning. He went through a lot of breathing exercises with me and I think it helped greatly.
“I played it one shot at a time and didn’t get ahead of myself. To hole a 25 foot putt for birdie at the last was sweet. My thanks as well to my local caddie Ali Jaan, who was on the bag when Arjun (Atwal) won on this course. He was very helpful this week,” said Mardan.
The Singapore ace started strongly with two opening birdies to narrow the gap on Del Olmo to one stroke and seized the lead on the fourth hole when the Mexican double bogeyed. When Del Olmo dropped further shots at the seventh and 11th, Mardan was in total control.
He oozed confidence throughout his blemish-free final round and notched seven birdies, including in his last two holes to seal a famous triumph. Del Olmo’s runner-up outing was his second time at the famed Delhi layout, having also come close at last year’s Hero Honda Masters.
“It’s disappointing to not win again. I think I got ahead of myself and started thinking about winning. I made a few mistakes out there,” said Del Olmo.
Korea’s Mo Joong-kyung carded his third straight 70 to share third place on 278 with first round leader Keith Horne of South Africa, who closed with a 73.
Mukesh Kumar was the best-placed Indian golfer at tied fifth position on 279 following a 70 and finished alongside Thailand’s Thaworn Wiratchant, who returned a 73. Last year’s winner Mike Cunning of the United States came in joint 42nd on 293 after a 78.
Leading final round scores
270 – Mardan Mamat (SIN) 68-67-70-65
275 – Pablo Del Olmo (MEX) 69-66-67-73
278 – Mo Joong-Kyung (KOR) 68-70-70-70, Keith Horne (RSA) 63-72-70-73
279 – Mukesh Kumar (IND) 67-71-71-70, Thaworn Wiratchant (THA) 66-69-71-73
280 – Firoz Ali (IND) 72-70-69-69
281 – Rick Gibson (CAN) 70-71-73-67
282 – Lee Sung-Man (KOR) 72-73-70-67, Gary Rusnak (USA) 68-69-71-74
283 – Clay Devers (USA) 67-69-73-74
284 – Adam Fraser (AUS) 74-65-74-71
285 – Vijay Kumar (IND) 71-68-75-71, Amritinder Singh (IND) 68-72-74-71
286 – Kim Felton (AUS) 71-73-69-73, Digvijay Singh (IND) 73-72-67-74, Rafiq Ali (IND) 69-71-72-74
287 – Craig Kamps (RSA) 69-74-72-72, Gerry Norquist (USA) 73-66-73-75, Lam Chih Bing (SIN) 71-69-69-78
288 – Harmeet Kahlon (IND) 72-69-77-70, Adam Le Vesconte (AUS) 74-69-71-74, Edward Michaels (USA) 73-72-69-74, Bryan Saltus (USA) 68-72-72-76, Stephen Lindskog (SWE) 69-69-71-79, Ross Bain (SCO) 69-70-70-79
289 – Chris Williams (RSA) 70-71-78-70, Gaurav Ghei (IND) 70-75-74-70, Yeh Chang-Ting (TPE) 68-75-72-74, Anthony Gilligan (AUS) 72-70-72-75, Greg Hanrahan (USA) 70-68-75-76 290 – Shiv Prakash (IND) 73-73-71-73
291 – Uttam Singh Mundy (IND) 71-74-75-71, Terry Pilkadaris (AUS) 74-70-76-71, Akinori Tani (JPN) 74-70-73-74, Eiji Mizoguchi (JPN) 70-75-72-74, Shamim Khan (IND) 67-72-77-75
292 – Yusof Ali (IND) 71-72-77-72, Scott Strange (AUS) 72-71-77-72, Anura Rohana (SLK) 73-73-72-74, Andrew Pitts (USA) 72-73-72-75
293 – Rafael Ponce (ECU) 76-69-77-71, Prom Meesawat (THA) 78-68-75-72, Hendrik Buhrmann (RSA) 69-73-76-75, Richard Moir (AUS) 74-67-77-75, Naman Dawar (IND) 77-69-72-75, Harinder Gupta [A] (IND) 73-70-74-76, Mike Cunning (USA) 71-69-75-78, David Gleeson (AUS) 69-69-78-77, Richard Backwell (AUS) 72-71-72-78
294 – Scott Taylor (USA) 69-77-74-74, Amandeep Johl (IND) 72-69-72-81, 295 – Jumman (IND) 73-73-75-74, Sanjay Kumar (IND) 71-70-78-76, Jason Dawes (AUS) 70-72-75-78
296 – Moon Kyung-Don (KOR) 73-70-80-73, Sung Mao-Chang (TPE) 72-74-73-77, C. Muniyappa (IND) 72-73-73-78, Roop Singh (IND) 70-74-74-78
297 – Scott Barr (AUS) 74-71-76-76, Atthaphon Prathumanee (THA) 71-75-73-78, Vinod Kumar (IND) 73-70-75-79
298 – R. Nachimuthu (MAS) 73-72-79-74, Davender Patel (IND) 71-75-76-76, Gast Ram (IND) 72-73-73-80
299 – Arjun Singh (IND) 72-71-81-75, Vikramjit Singh (IND) 73-73-79-74, Basad Ali (IND) 75-71-77-76