Olympian Udayan Mane held his nerve and carded a three-under 69 in the last round to win the PGTI’s season-ending TATA Steel Tour Championship by a narrow one-shot margin here on Sunday.
The win also helped him bag the PGTI Order of Merit title for the 2020-21 season.
Mane (68-66-67-69) made six birdies, a bogey and a double-bogey on the final day to end up with a tournament tally of 18-under 270 at the season’s showpiece event worth Rs. 1.5 crore in prize money, which was played across the Beldih and Golmuri Golf Courses.
The six-foot four-inch-tall Pune-based golfer, who made a 12-feet pressure putt for victory on the last hole, made it a year to remember as he followed up his Tokyo Olympics appearance with the bragging rights of being No. 1 in PGTI’s money list with season’s earnings of Rs. 58,72,275.
Two-time Asian Tour winner Rashid Khan (70-72-66-63) matched the tournament’s lowest round of nine-under 63 on the last day to climb 10 spots and finish runner-up at 17-under 271.
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Rashid, who made an eagle and seven birdies in round four, allowed himself to have a shot at the title and was even staring at a record fourth PGTI Order of Merit crown as his playoff with Mane was looking possible at one stage.
Mane, the overnight joint leader along with Shubhankar Sharma, seized the early initiative with birdies on the second, third and fourth, making two-putts on the two par-5s on that stretch. He made double-bogey on the eighth but soon recovered with birdies on the 11th and 13th where he sank 10-feet putts.
Mane emerged the outright favourite after his terrific up and down birdie from the bunker on the 16th gave him a two-shot cushion at the top.
A bogey on the 17th and an erratic drive on the 18th gave him some anxious moments as clubhouse leader Rashid was just one shot behind at that stage.
However, Mane produced a good approach shot and an ice-cool 12-feet par conversion on the 18th to seal his 12th title on the PGTI.
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Mane, who collected the winner’s purse worth Rs. 22,50,000, thus zoomed from third to first position in the PGTI Order of Merit as he leapfrogged Karandeep Kochhar and Chikkarangappa in the merit list based on season’s earnings.
Mane won an impressive four titles during the 2020-21 season and posted four other top-10s as well.
“I just like the courses here in Jamshedpur. That’s the reason I’ve won here twice. It’s a good test for the professionals to adapt from one course to another in the middle of the round.
“Winning the PGTI Order of Merit title is great for my confidence as I will head to the Asian Tour soon. I’d now like to carry this form to Asia,” added Mane, who now wins a four-year exemption on the PGTI as a result of emerging Order of Merit champion.
Rashid, lying tied 30th after his first two rounds of 70 and 72, made a brilliant rearguard action with scores of 66 and 63 in the last two rounds to make a strong comeback in the tournament.
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He added three more birdies on the back-nine during his flawless final round. As a result of his runner-up finish, Rashid jumped from ninth to fourth place in the PGTI’s final money list.
Two-time European Tour winner Shubhankar shot a final round of 72 to take tied fourth place at 15-under 273 along with four-time European Tour winner SSP Chawrasia (70).
Shubhankar’s challenge faded away on the back-nine where he conceded three bogeys and a double-bogey in exchange for two birdies.
SSP’s nephew Sunit Chowrasia (69) finished tied sixth at 14-under 274 along with nine-time Asian Tour winner Gaganjeet Bhullar (71).
Karandeep Kochhar, a winner of two events this season, finished tied 23rd at six-under 282 at the season finale. He took second place in the PGTI’s money list with the season’s earnings of Rs. 51,00,880.
Chikkarangappa claimed tied 12th place with a total of 10-under 278. A two-time winner in the season, he thus finished third in the Order of Merit with the season’s earnings of Rs. 48,07,880.
Indian golf legend Jyoti Randhawa finished tied 44th at one-under 287.
Kartik Sharma of Gurugram won the PGTI Emerging Player of the Year title with the season’s earnings of Rs. 18,22,750, the highest among the rookies.