Khan is King at SAIL-SBI Open

Sat 01 Mar 2014

Khan is King at SAIL-SBI Open

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New Delhi, March 1: India’s Rashid Khan claimed a play-off victory over Bangladeshi Siddikur Rahman at the SAIL-SBI Open presented by Incredible India with a birdie on the first extra hole on Saturday.
The 23-year-old prospect completed a memorable wire-to-wire victory at his home course, the Delhi Golf Club, which also atoned for his heartbreaking play-off defeat at the same event a year ago to countryman Anirban Lahiri.
Khan’s maiden Asian Tour victory was worth US$54,000 and he was mobbed by the crowds after tapping in his birdie on the par five 18th hole as Siddikur could only make par in the season-opening event.
“It feels awesome. It’s my home course and winning here is special. It’s amazing,” said a jubilant Khan, who carded a final round one-under-par 71 and totaled 18-under-par 270 for the week.
“I lost this event here last year. It was important and the way I started on the first day with a 61, it was an amazing week.  I don’t like play-offs. I played seven play-offs in the last 14 months and I won only three. It’s a lottery.”
The slender Khan needed a stroke of fortune in regulation play which forced extra time. He trailed Siddikur by one with two remaining but produced a “lucky” birdie on 17 to draw level. Both players birdied the 18th hole under immense pressure to take the tournament into a play-off.
Khan’s aggressive approach paid off when he produced an imperious three wood approach shot from 269 yards out which landed on the apron before taking two more shots to defeat Siddikur, who missed his birdie chance from about 15 feet.
Siddikur Rahman. Siddikur Rahman.
“On 17, I actually hit a bad shot, hit it right, but I don’t know how my ball pitched over the bunker and rolled to one and a half feet to the flag. I was shocked. It was really lucky,” said Khan, who will now be fully exempted on the region’s premier Tour until the end of 2015.
“I had to be aggressive in the play-off. I had to go for it. I took out the driver and hit a good shot in the middle of the fairway and then had about 269 yards to the flag. I went with a three wood and that was one of the best shots I’ve hit,” he added.
When the third round was completed this morning, Siddikur, who will feature for Team Asia in the EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM against Europe in Malaysia later this month, trailed Khan by two but soon tied the Indian youngster with an opening eagle.
His hopes of a second title at the fabled Delhi course, which he won the Hero Indian Open in November, faded as he missed his long birdie chance. “Rashid deserves the win. He’s a talented player. I saw his game and he’s a really good player,” said Siddikur, who finished fourth on the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit last season.
“It was a good play-off. I played my game but maybe, I should have played driver. I used my three wood which wasn’t sufficient although I have used three wood in the first four rounds and made birdie every day. But it wasn’t the case in the play-off.”
Sweden’s Rikard Karlberg, a two-time winner in Delhi, finished third after closing with a 68, six shots from the play-off duo, while S.S.P. Chowrasia of India, Spain’s Carlos Pigem and Martin Rominger of Switzerland shared fourth place on 277.
Two-time defending champion Anirban Lahiri, who was bidding to become the first man to win three straight titles at the same tournament, closed with a disappointing 74 for tied eighth place with Sri Lanka’s Mithun Perera (72) and countryman Jyoti Randhawa (69).
Scores after round 4 of the SAIL - SBI Open being played at the par 72, 6928 Yards Delhi GC course (a- denotes amateur):
270 - Rashid KHAN (IND) 61-69-69-71, Siddikur RAHMAN (BAN) 67-67-67-69.
(Khan wins play-off with birdie on the first extra hole)
276 - Rikard KARLBERG (SWE) 71-70-67-68.
277 - Carlos PIGEM (ESP) 69-71-69-68, S.S.P CHOWRASIA (IND) 68-69-72-68, Martin ROMINGER (SUI) 72-63-70-72.
278 - Steve LEWTON (ENG) 68-70-68-72.
279 - Abhijit CHADHA (IND) 68-73-69-69, Jyoti RANDHAWA (IND) 71-69-70-69, Anirban LAHIRI (IND) 70-66-69-74, Mithun PERERA (SRI) 66-68-73-72.
280 - Rahil GANGJEE (IND) 71-70-68-71, Chiragh KUMAR (IND) 69-73-70-68, Arnond VONGVANIJ (THA) 74-69-67-70, Sutijet KOORATANAPISAN (THA) 71-72-69-68, Akinori TANI (JPN) 66-71-71-72, Scott BARR (AUS) 67-70-72-71.
281 - Thanyakon KHRONGPHA (THA) 69-73-69-70, David LIPSKY (USA) 70-70-71-70, George GANDRANATA (INA) 68-70-71-72.
About the Asian Tour
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