Ghei Ends 11-Year Wait at Mercuries Taiwan Masters

Sun 01 Oct 2006

Ghei Ends 11-Year Wait at Mercuries Taiwan Masters

Taipei, October 1: India’s Gaurav Ghei blasted a six-under-par 66 and ended an 11-year wait when he won the US$500,000 Mercuries Taiwan Masters on Sunday.

Ghei enjoyed a blemish free round with six birdies and finished one stroke ahead of compatriot Rahil Gangjee who ended his campaign with a 71 at the Taiwan Golf and Country Club. Ghei scored a four-day total of 10-under-par 278 and walked away with the top prize of US$100,000.

The 38-year-old champion had previously won the 1995 Gadgil Western Masters on home soil.

Ted Oh of Korea was even-par for the second consecutive day and finished in sole third position four strokes behind the champion. Korean young gun Park Jun-won finished in joint fourth spot after a 69 alongside Australia’s Adam Groom who carded a 70. American Jason Knutzon shot a 71 also in tied fourth place together with compatriot Bryan Saltus who scored his second straight 73. Yeh Wei-Tze shot a similar score and was the highest ranked local finisher in eighth spot.

Thanks to solid putting in the final round, Ghei conquered the front nine with birdies at the first, second, fourth, sixth and seventh holes. After having to scramble for par at the 10th hole, Ghei fired his sixth birdie at the 12th hole and was steady as he parred the remaining six holes.

“It’s been 11 years since I won and the way I played in the last two days without dropping a shot, it is just fantastic. This is all going to take a while to sink in,” said Ghei, who made a giant leap to 10th place on the Asian Tour’s UBS Order of Merit.

“I had a great start and was five under on the front and I told myself to play well and keep it on the fairway. It’s been a crazy week. My thoughts go out to S.S.P (S.S.P Chowrasia) but at the same time I’m very happy to have won after a long time.

“The key hole for me is probably the par save at the 10th hole. I struck it of the tee and the ball landed in the bunker around six feet away from the pin. The second shot was awesome as the ball landed right next to the cup and I putted for par,” he added.

With the win, Ghei has booked his spot for the HSBC Champions tournament in November.

Overnight leader Gangjee started well with birdies at the second and fifth holes but he stumbled with a dropped shot at the seventh hole. After carding another bogey on the 14th hole, Gangjee gave chase and ended his run with a birdie at the final 18th hole.

“I didn’t expect to finish in second place as I was gunning for the top spot. But I never really charged. I started off good but then endured poor putting and was unlucky with the lie on the seventh hole and that’s not the way to win a tournament. Gaurav played really well and shooting six under on the final round, that is really good,” said Gangjee, who chalked up his best finish this season.

Gangjee had previously finished third at the Brunei Open in August and third in the Korea Open last month.

After a sluggish mid-season performance, Oh, with four birdies against four bogeys, delivered his best result this year at the Tamsui course.

“Finally I have a good result this season and I hope for similar results in the remaining tournaments this year,” said Oh.

With six birdies against three bogeys, Korea’s 20-year-old rising star Park continued his impressive run as he recorded his third top-10 finish in his rookie season this year.

“I am always driving it low and as it was windy out there today, I felt like it was an advantage for me so I am quite pleased,” said Park, who finished runner-up in the Philippine Open in May and claimed sixth spot at the Pulai Springs Malaysian Masters last month.

Leading final round scores

278 - Gaurav Ghei (IND) 71-72-69-66

279 - Rahil Gangjee (IND) 66-70-72-71

282 - Ted Oh (KOR) 70-68-72-72

284 - Adam Groom (AUS) 73-69-72-70, Park Jun-won (KOR) 70-72-73-69, Jason Knutzon (USA) 67-70-76-71, Bryan Saltus (USA) 69-69-73-73

285 - Yeh Wei-tze (TPE) 71-70-71-73

286 - Lin Wen-tang (TPE) 72-71-67-76

287 - Chris Rodgers (ENG) 74-72-69-72

288 - Eddie Lee (NZL) 72-73-74-69, Simon Hurd (ENG) 73-73-70-72, Lin Keng-chi (TPE) 72-73-72-71, Lu Wei-chih (TPE) 71-72-71-74, Lin Wen-hong (TPE) 72-73-64-79

289 - Gerry Norquist (USA) 74-70-74-71, Shiv Kapur (IND) 73-71-71-74, Amandeep Johl (IND) 72-71-72-74, Lu Wen-teh (TPE) 74-68-73-74, Chung Chun-hsing (TPE) 68-71-73-77