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Gangjee bogeys Masters

Final day: Cards a poor 74 as Aussie Andrew Dodt scores 68 to walk away with the title, reports Robin Bose.

other Updated: Feb 15, 2010 00:06 IST
Robin Bose

Rahil Gangjee’s journey through the wilderness continues. At 13-under and a share of the lead, a dropped shot on the 14th set him back. Having taken it “one shot at a time,” a strategy that had placed him at the doorstep of a maiden European Tour title, the affable golfer had the requisite room to bounce back.

Instead, the bogey, only his second of the event, packed in more than a punch. The game and temperament, impregnable for the entire week, were blown away. Shaken to the core, Gangjee stumbled, and bogey after bogey added to the card.

By the time the ordeal ended, Gangjee had witnessed a gamut of emotions. A glorious future beckoned when he was two-under after 13 and joint leader, but bogeying the final three holes was a throwback to times best forgotten.

Andrew Dodt stumbled too, on the 11th, but rather than brood, the Aussie focussed on the benefit that accompanied the Avantha Masters trophy — a two-year exemption on the European Tour. The attitude held him in good stead. Recovering to birdie the 16th, Dodt found the bunker with the second shot on the 18th. Not only did he extricate himself from trouble, he landed the shot a foot shy of the pin. Nerves and form were not an issue and the easy birdie putt put him up by a shot at 14-under 274.

Some anxious moments were spent in the scorers’ office watching Richard Bland on TV, as he tried to catch up, but once the Briton’s fourth shot landed at a distance, Dodt, who was overnight T8, pumped his fists and a handshakes followed.

The victory at the DLF Golf & Country Club wasn’t the case of a non-entity emerging from the shadows and walking away with the cheque of $347,592.50 (Rs 1.6 crores approx). Apart from a few close finishes on the Asian Tour, the 24-year-old from Gatton, Brisbane, finished runner-up at the New Zealand Open and 7th at the Moonah Classic, events on the Nationwide Tour.

“I’ve come close a couple of times but to pull it off is like a dream,” said Dodt. Disbelief was writ large on the lean face, but even in a dazed state, Dodt did not forget to stop and ponder. Placing a hand on the trophy, he said, “I owe this to my parents and the way they brought me up. It’s because of them I’m here today.”