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Golconda Masters golf: Manu Gandas successfully defends title despite scare on last-hole

Hyderabad, Nov 12 (IANS) Despite a double-bogey on the final hole, Manu Gandas overcame the scare to defend his title and win the Telangana Golconda Masters 2022 with a four-day aggregate score of 23-under 257.

Despite the hiccups on the final hole which resulted in a card of 69, Manu Gandas finished two strokes ahead of second-placed Yuvraj Singh Sandhu.

As a result of his fifth win of the season, the Gurugram-based Manu Gandas (63-60-65-69) moved up one place to second position on the PGTI Order of Merit. Chandigarh’s Yuvraj Singh Sandhu (64-65-65-65) also moved up one spot and now tops the rankings.

Gandas earned a cheque of INR 6,00,000 for his effort while Sandhu settled for the INR 4,00,000 runner-up cheque. Both have now won four times on the tour this year and while Gandas has raked up INR 50,02,288 in winnings so far, Sandhu is narrowly ahead with earnings of INR 51,14,768.

Gandas, the overnight leader by six shots, was well on course to the title till the 17th hole having led by four shots over Sandhu. His excellent driving, approach shots and chipping earned him five birdies in exchange for two bogeys over 17 holes.

However, Gandas found the bunker with his drive on the 18th and then couldn’t get it out with his second shot. He finally landed it just short of the green with his fourth shot and left himself a tricky 12-feet conversion for a double-bogey after his chip. Gandas then displayed his steely resolve as he sank the 12-feet pressure putt to seal the title with a two-shot margin over Sandhu.

After receiving the cheque and the magnificent trophy depicting the famous Golconda Fort from V. Srinivas Goud, Honourable Minister for Prohibition & Excise, Sports & Youth Services, Tourism & Culture and Archaeology, Government of Telangana, the champion Manu Gandas said, “This tournament has a special place for me because this is where my breakthrough win came last year. It feels good and quite satisfying to have defended my title.

“It was a steady day for me even though there were some unforced errors including that on the last hole. On the final hole, I got a bit greedy and went for the green from the bunker which was not a smart choice in hindsight as I left the ball in the bunker once again. I knew that the final putt was make-or-break for me as Yuvraj still had a birdie ch’nce and could’ve easily taken the match into a playoff had I missed the 12-footer.

“For most of the day, I played my own game, one shot at a time and focussed well. I was relieved after the last putt because I hadn’t played very smartly just prior to that and almost threw it away. Being focussed comes to me naturally since the very start of my career. I feel that is one of my strengths and it helped me today as well.”

Sandhu posted six birdies and a bogey for the day’s best score of 65 in round four to end up as runner-up and continue his consistent run this season.

Bengaluru’s Syed Saqib Ahmed (70) took third place at 13-under 267.

The Chandigarh duo of Jairaj Singh Sandhu (12-under 268) and Angad Cheema (11-under 269) finished fourth and fifth respectively.

The 17-year-old Milind Soni of Hyderabad won the trophy for the best performing amateur as he claimed tied 17th place at five-under 275. Two other Hyderabad-based professionals Mohd Azhar and Hardik Chawda also secured tied 17th place.

–IANS

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