Khalin Joshi comes close second to Poom Saksankin at Take Solutions Masters golf
Khalin Joshi did well but fell short by two shots behind champion Poom Saksansin at Take Solutions Masters golfother sports Updated: Aug 06, 2017 22:23 IST
Poom Saksansin showed he not only carries a smile but a cool head as well in demanding situations. Whether the lead was cut to a shot or extended by four shots, the diminutive pro never looked troubled.
On a dramatic final day, the 24-year-old shot a four-under 67 for a tally of 16-under 268 to lift the $300,000 Take Solutions Masters at the Karnataka Golf Association on Sunday, thus breaking a four-year stranglehold of Indian winners in international events at home.
The win fetched him a cheque of $54,000 and now is ranked 18th on the Asian Tour’s order of merit.
Khalin Joshi, looking for his maiden title and egged on by over 1000 spectators at his home club, did well but fell short by two shots at the end. However, his cheque of $33,000 catapulted him from the 84th to 38th position on the order of merit.
Ajeetesh Sandhu, with a final round of five-under 66 ended up sole third. Four other Indians – Divyanshu Bajaj and Abhinav Lohan (T4), Honey Baisoya and Rahil Gangjee (T8) finished in the top ten.
The camaraderie between the three friends – Khalin, S Chikkarangappa and Poom lasted until they stepped on the first tee. Khalin wrested the initiative on the opening hole making a birdie and reduced the lead to a shot. He made a dramatic save for par on the par-4 third after plunging into the water due to an errant tee shot and then capped it with a 60-foot putt.
The consistent Thai made two birdies on the fourth and sixth with Khalin matching him on the fifth and sixth. However, the Bangalorean fell behind, losing two strokes on the last three holes of the front nine, which swelled Poom’s lead to three.
Going for broke on the return journey, Khalin began with a birdie which left him two strokes adrift of the leader, who restored the three-shot lead on the next hole.
Status quo was maintained when Khalin made a bogey on the 14th and birdie on the 15th, while Poom lost a shot on the 15th and made birdie on 16th, which eventually sealed the outcome.
“I was threatened only once on the third hole where Khalin made a superb save. But the birdie on the 16th gave me a three-shot lead with two holes to go,” said the champion. Both saved a shot on the 17th with the position remaining unchanged.
While Saksansin played it safe on the 18th in laying up, Khalin went for the green and made a birdie falling two shots behind. “I am happy because I played good golf here. I have never led from start to finish,” said Saksansin, who ranked his first victory as more important than the present one.
Khalin, who produced his best result thus far on the Asian Tour, was disappointed but applauded Poom’s efforts. “I thought I could make it and did try hard but I guess that was not enough. A couple of silly mistakes cost me dearly. He really played well,” said Khalin, who will celebrate his 25th birthday next week.