Nuh, (Haryana) February 15: Pune-based Udayan Mane delivered a top-class final round of five-under-67 to emerge champion at the Rs. 30 lakh PGTI Players Championship at the Classic Golf & Country Club in Nuh, Haryana, on Friday (February 15). The prolific Mane, playing in only his fifth season as a professional, collected seven Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points for his seventh title.
The 27-year-old Udayan (71-64-71-67), who achieved his target total score of 15-under-273, climbed from fifth to the second position in the 2019 PGTI Order of Merit and is likely to take a big jump in the world rankings from his current 962 when the updated list comes out on Monday.
India's top golfer Shubhankar Sharma (70-68-69-67) finished joint runner-up at 14-under-274 while veteran Mukesh Kumar (71-69-69-65) of Mhow came up with a spirited 65, the best round of the day, to also bag tied second place on a topsy-turvy day that saw at least four players in the lead or the joint lead at different stages.
Udayan Mane, lying overnight second, had hit his wedges to perfection all week. It was no different in the last round. He began the day with a 15-feet birdie conversion on the second before using his wedges to good effect once again to set up most of his birdies including those on the third, seventh, 10th, 12th and 15th.
The strapping Udayan, among the tallest Indian golfers at 6 foot 4 inches, also had three bogeys to show on day four. However, he made the all-important two-putt for birdie from the fringe of the 18th green and a distance of 35 yards to deliver the winning blow. Mane's final putt was an eight-footer.
Mane, whose home course is the Kalhaar Blues & Greens in Ahmedabad, said, "It's now 7 for 7 which means seven points for my seventh title. So that's special.
"It's been a fabulous start to the season as I had a top-5 last week as well. I've been playing really well, having totalled 15-under for two weeks in succession. I hit my wedges even better this week and also converted more putts.
"Today I adapted well when the conditions suddenly changed and it became quite cold midway through my round. I did well to factor in the wind which had switched and the increased yardages due to the heavier air.
"At the start of the day, I told myself that I had to finish with a score of 15-under. I achieved that number as I managed to successfully execute my plans. This win now sets up my season," added Udayan, who last won exactly one year back in Hyderabad.
The 53-year-old Mukesh Kumar, the sole leader at one stage on day four, enjoyed an error-free day but missed a two-footer for birdie on the 18th that proved to be decisive at the end.
Shubhankar Sharma mixed six birdies with a bogey to take a share of second at his former home course.
Young guns, 22-year-old Veer Ahlawat (13-under-275) of Gurugram and 18-year-old rookie Kshitjit Naveed Kaul (12-under-276) of Delhi claimed fourth and fifth places respectively.
Round three leader Sunit Chowrasia of Kolkata dropped to seventh place at 10-under-278 after a final round of 73.