10 years of magic: 2004 Masters China

Thu 15 Aug 2013

10 years of magic: 2004 Masters China

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In this latest instalment of our looking back series, we relive all the action from the Volkswagen Masters China back in 2004 where India’s Rahil Gangjee, who was still a rookie on the Asian Tour then, secured a dream victory by defeating Mo Joong-kyung of Korea in a play-off.
The then 25-year-old showed the poise of a veteran at the Pine Valley Golf Club as he emerged victorious after a pulsating final round which saw at least seven players in with a chance of winning the inaugural event.
Gangjee and Mo finished tied on 15-under-par 273 after rounds of 68 and 66 respectively before the unheralded Indian triumphed in the first sudden-death play-off hole with a par on the 18th hole after Mo had found trouble in the greenside trap.
“It’s beyond my wildest dream,” said a jubilant Gangjee, who pocketed US$48,450 for his first Asian Tour success.
“I can’t describe how I’m feeling right now. You practice for this all your life and suddenly it happens. This feels really good. I putted really well this week and the course suited my game. I’ve done well on Jack Nicklaus designs previously where I finished second twice at the same tournament back home and I was determined to be third time lucky,” added Gangjee.
A total of five players entered the Volkswagen Masters – China final round tied for the lead and jostled for position at the top of the leaderboard.
Gangjee, who turned pro in 2001 after becoming India’s number one amateur player, turned in 34 and grabbed the lead on his own for the first time when he birdied 14th, the toughest hole all week, with a 12-foot putt.
He claimed that he wasn’t nervous at all heading into the play-off.
“I have been playing really badly for the last few months and I wasn’t expecting much this week. I just said to myself to go out there and have some fun and I did just that,” said the slightly-build Indian.
He also thanked his compatriot Arjun Atwal for giving him the inspiration to excel in the professional ranks.
“Arjun showed belief in me even before I started believing in myself,” said Gangjee.
“He lives just three houses away from me in Calcutta and he is my idol. He has great rhythm and a great short game. I’ve taken a lot of inspiration from him and I want to thank him, as well as my coach Anjay Gupta.”
Ends.