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Wiratchant takes home Indian Open

other Updated: Oct 22, 2012 01:16 IST
Robin Bose
Robin Bose
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Seconds before Richie Ramsay lined up for his birdie putt, a kite, soaring above the 18th green, swooped down. It was up in a flash, the prey in its talons. Mistaking the piece of mud for meat did not matter; the bird's elegance had the crowd sighing in admiration. "Quite like him (Ramsay)," a voice rang out.

Leading for 71 holes, it was natural to liken the predator's brief act to the Scot's dominance at the Hero Indian Open.

Ahead of Thaworn Wiratchant by a stroke, Ramsay got to work. Pressure brought the best out of him, yet the Thai's caddie sat quietly by the edge of the green.

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The greens playing tougher after the overnight rain and the Scot's relative inexperience of tackling them, the man sensed a chance. His optimism came from the years spent at the Karnataka Golf Association.

Ramsay overshot, but the disbelief did not stay on. Such was the aura of invincibility around him. Par was all he needed, and after waiting for the applause to die down, he got down to nailing the putt that would have got him the trophy and cheque of $198,125 (R1.07cr).

Oblivious to what was unfolding nearby, Wiratchant, in the group preceding the leaders, stood summing up his round at the score recorders. With 14 career titles to his name, winning was farthest on the 45-year-old's mind.

Happy ending
For him, the man to beat this week was Gaganjeet Bhullar and at 14-under 270, finishing 10 strokes ahead of the in-form Indian was reason for happiness.

The roar from the stands broke the state of quiet satisfaction. Ramsay had missed the par putt and Wiratchant's caddie was in raptures, exchanging high-fives with friends.

Seen off to the 18th tee with cries of "C'mon, you can do it," the holiday crowd still believed in the Scot's abilities. Perhaps, so did Wiratchant. The ball striking not at its best this week, a top-five would have been fine for the Thai golfer.

He hadn't bargained for the unexpected turn of events, but thrust into the situation, holding his nerve and craft wasn't difficult for the Asian Tour's most decorated player.

As for Ramsay, the awry tee-shot in the play-off would have brought to mind his words at the European Masters in September. "Nobody's (family) watching you and it can be a lonely business." Then, it was a moment of triumph. On Sunday, all he had again was his caddie's comforting arm.