Randhawa the Hero Again in India

Sun 14 Oct 2007

Randhawa the Hero Again in India

New Delhi, October 14: Defending champion Jyoti Randhawa became only the second player to lift three titles at the Hero Honda Indian Open on Sunday after firing a final round three-under-par 69 and one of the most memorable shots of the season.

The Indian star joined Australian legend Peter Thomson as the only other player to achieve three victories at Delhi Golf Club, winning by three shots with a winning total of 13-under-par 275.

Chinese Taipei?s Chang Tse-peng chased hard with a superb 68 to finish second while local stalwart Rahil Gangjee grabbed third place with the day?s best of 66, five behind the winner.

Australian rookie Mitchell Brown enjoyed his best finish of the season at fourth place following a 67 while overnight co-leader Chapchai Nirat of Thailand settled for tied fifth place after a disappointing 76 alongside Chinese Taipei veteran Lu Wen-teh (72) and David Gleeson (72) of Australia.

Randhawa was on cruise mode for most of the round, turning in 35 for a two-shot lead. But Chang, playing some of his best golf in years, narrowed the gap to one with a birdie on 17, only to see Randhawa respond in the best possible manner when he sensationally holed out an eight iron from 171 yards for a stunning eagle on the par four 16th, the toughest hole all week.

He was delighted to join the exalted company of Thomson, a five-time British Open champion, in the Hero Honda Indian Open which he regards as his ?fifth Major.?

?I was thinking about it. Anytime you equal a legendary name like Peter Thomson, you know you?ve done something good in life,? said a delighted Randhawa.

?I?m very happy to do that. I am happy to be playing at Delhi Golf Club. I guess it?s my favourite golf course now. I?m happy that people came out to support me in great numbers. It?s been a fabulous week,? he added.

Randhawa, who won his first Indian Open title in 2000, said he needed to be aggressive coming down the stretch after Chang reduced his lead with three holes remaining. After splitting the fairway on 16 with another exquisite tee shot, the Indian amazingly holed out his second shot which raised the roof at the Delhi course.

?I was aiming four to five yards right of the hole and trying to draw the ball towards the pin. I drew it perfectly and it just went into the hole. I couldn?t have dreamt it better, finishing in the cup,? said Randhawa, who celebrated with several fist pumps to the cheers of the large galleries.

?I didn?t want to go into the 18th hole with a one-shot lead. I wanted to get a birdie somewhere. I was playing easy early on but on the 16th, I got aggressive. Boy, what a way to get aggressive,? said Randhawa, who earned a cheque of US$79,250 and also a place in the HSBC Champions in Shanghai next month.

Chang made a brave bid to chase the Indian leader, shooting four birdies before coming up short. But a cheque of US$54,250 was timely as it saw him leapfrog from 120th to 53rd place on the Asian Tour?s UBS Order of Merit where the top-60 at the end of the season will retain their full card for 2008.

?I tried to keep chasing Jyoti but coming in, I knew that it would be difficult to do so. So I just concentrated hard to finish second which is my best result on Tour in 10 years,? said Chang.

?Yesterday, I didn?t perform well as I felt under pressure playing in the last group but today, I didn?t let the pressure get to me. It was a lot easier to play this way,? he added.

The stocky Gangjee produced his best result of the season, thanks to an impressive round that included an eagle and five birdies. ?I focussed a bit better today. There were less distractions with less people watching and that made things easier (as he played with Randhawa in the third round). It was like another practice round, we had fun there.

?It hasn?t been a great year. I am trying to work harder in the second half of the year and it?s kind of paying off now,? said Gangjee.

Leading final round scores

275 - Jyoti Randhawa (IND) 70-69-67-69

278 - Chang Tse-peng (TPE) 68-65-77-68

280 - Rahil Gangjee (IND) 71-67-76-66

281 - Mitchell Brown (AUS) 74-71-69-67

282 - Lu Wen-teh (TPE) 68-75-67-72, David Gleeson (AUS) 66-68-76-72, Chapchai Nirat (THA) 66-67-73-76, Mark Brown (NZL) 71-72-64-75

283 - Arjun Singh (IND) 73-70-71-69, Ashok Kumar (IND) 68-73-73-69, S.S.P. Chowrasia (IND) 68-71-74-70

284 - Peter Senior (AUS) 70-70-76-68

285 - Jeev Milkha Singh (IND) 72-74-71-68, Ross Bain (SCO) 69-72-73-71, Keith Horne (RSA) 71-70-73-71, Uttam Singh Mundy (IND) 70-76-68-71

286 - Chinarat Phadungsil (THA) 70-70-75-71, Mars Pucay (PHI) 70-70-74-72

For further information, please contact Simon Wilson or Chuah Choo Chiang at the tournament media centre +91 11 2450 1058. Also visit www.asiantour.com for live scoring.

About the Asian Tour

As the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia, the Asian Tour leads the development of golf across the region, enhancing the careers of its members while maintaining a commitment to the integrity of the game. The Asian Tour, through its membership of the International Federation of PGA Tours, is the only recognised pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia.  This unique feature positions the Asian Tour at the pinnacle of professional golf in Asia; providing its events with Official World Ranking status. Tour Partners include UBS (Naming rights sponsor to the UBS Order of Merit and Official Financial Services Provider), Sofitel (Official Hotel), Srixon (Official Ball), Pin High (Official Apparel Partner) and ESPN Star Sports (Official Regional TV Broadcaster). Sentosa, Singapore?s premier island resort getaway, is the Home of the Asian Tour.