December 17: Khalin Joshi has emerged as the PGTI Order of Merit champion for 2018. With just one event remaining in the season, the 17th TATA Open 2018, scheduled to be played at the Golmuri Golf Club in Jamshedpur from December 20 – 23, Joshi already enjoys an unassailable lead in the money list.
The 26-year-old Bengalurean Khalin, who won his maiden international title at the Asian Tour’s Panasonic Open India (joint sanctioned by the Asian Tour & PGTI) in Delhi two months back, currently sits atop the PGTI Order of Merit with earnings of Rs. 60,74,840.
Besides his win, Joshi, who has had seven starts on the PGTI so far this year, also registered a sixth place at the LP Cup and a tied sixth at the TAKE Solutions Masters (both events joint sanctioned by the Asian Tour & PGTI).
Twenty-one-year-old Viraj Madappa, who became the youngest Indian to win an international event when he bagged the Asian Tour’s TAKE Solutions Masters this season, is currently in second place on the PGTI’s merit list with earnings of Rs. 46,17,097.
@KhalinJoshi: The fact that I won the @PGTITOUR Order of Merit in the same year that my good friend @shubhankargolf won the @asiantourgolf Order of Merit, is a happy coincidence and makes 2018 all the more special for me pic.twitter.com/WivyRXNpvq— PGTI (@PGTITOUR) December 17, 2018
However, Madappa will not be participating at the season finale in Jamshedpur which means he will not be vying for the top spot with Khalin, who will be teeing it up at the year-ender.
The seasoned Shamim Khan lies third in the money list with earnings of Rs. 34,28,798. But even a triumph for Shamim at Golmuri will not be enough for him to challenge Joshi’s top position in the rankings as the winning cheque at the season-ending event is Rs. 16,16,500.
On being declared the 2018 PGTI Order of Merit champion, Khalin, a winner of four titles, said, “It’s been a dream to win an Order of Merit title and to achieve it on a tour where I started my professional career is quite special.
“To be honest, it’s not been a very consistent year for me, but I’m happy that I still managed to put together some good weeks and get the job done. So many great Indian golfers have won the Order of Merit in India before going on to achieve bigger things at the international stage. So it’s nice to be in their company.
“The fact that my good friend Shubhankar Sharma won the Asian Tour Order of Merit while I won the PGTI Order of Merit at the same time, is a happy coincidence, and makes the 2018 season even more memorable for me.
“My focus will now be on performing well at the European Tour and Asian Tour joint sanctioned events next season so that I can earn my card on the European Tour.
“The PGTI has provided many Indian golfers including myself the platform to sharpen our games and make a smooth and successful transition to the international level. I’m confident that this trend will continue in the coming years as the tour is set to grow bigger with its inclusion in the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) system from 2019 onward.”
Incidentally, Khalin Joshi also finished a career-best 17th on the Asian Tour Order of Merit this year.