Golf: Shiv Kapur wins Jeev Milkha Singh Invitational 2021
Shiv Kapur prevailed over Rashid Khan in a playoff at the ₹1.5-crore Jeev Milkha Singh Invitational 2021 to register his first win at a PGTI event at the Chandigarh Golf Club on Sunday. The tournament was decided in a playoff for the fourth year in succession.
A Dubai-based golfer who originally hails from Delhi, Shiv (64-68-67-70) was in a deadlock with Delhi’s Rashid (65-67-69-68) at 19-under 269 at the top of the leaderboard after regulation play, having shot final rounds of 70 and 68 respectively.
Olympian Udayan Mane (69-68-67-67) took third place at 17-under 271 after returning a second straight 67. Chandigarh’s Aadil Bedi, who was overnight second and one off the lead, closed the week in fourth after his final round of 72 took his tally to 16-under 272.
Shiv, a six-time international winner who also has two previous wins on the Indian domestic tour, came up with a brilliant second shot from the rough to make a two-putt for par on the playoff hole (18th hole) even as two-time Asian Tour winner Rashid hit his second shot into the water which effectively ended his challenge.
Earlier in the day, 39-year-old Shiv, the overnight leader by one shot, struggled with his hitting and as a result dropped three bogeys on the front-nine with just one birdie in exchange. A monster 50-feet birdie conversion on the 11th seemed to be the defining moment of the day for him.
Thereafter, Shiv kept landing it within six feet to pick up birdies on the 13th, 16th and 17th. He missed a four-footer for birdie and outright victory on the 18th but came back stronger in the playoff to lift the title at his close friend Jeev Milkha Singh’s event and take home the winning cheque worth ₹24,24,750.
“It was not my prettiest round of golf. I had no rhythm and was all over the place to begin with. The first bit of good luck I had was with the long putt on the 11th. That’s when I told my caddie that this is like the fourth quarter of a basketball game and we can get back. I then had a good back nine and am proud of the way I came back and won despite not having my A game. I was pretty happy with the way I played the last three holes,” said Shiv, who last won at the Chandigarh Golf Club as a 15-year-old junior golfer.
Staing that there could not have been any better preparation for the upcoming Asian Tour events, he said: “Winning Jeev’s event is also special since he’s like my elder brother and his family is like my second family. Without Jeev’s guidance I wouldn’t be half the player I am.”
Rashid, a three-time PGTI Order of Merit champion who had earlier lost out in a marathon playoff to local lad Ajeetesh Sandhu at the 2019 edition of the event, took home a prize money cheque worth ₹16,74,750. He thus climbed from 16th to seventh position in the PGTI Order of Merit.
The four Chandigarh golfers, other than Bedi, who finished inside the top-10 were Yuvraj Singh Sandhu (tied sixth at 12-under 276), Abhijit Singh Chadha (eighth at 11-under 277), former champion Ajeetesh Sandhu and last year’s champion Karandeep Kochhar (both tied 10th at nine-under 279). Kochhar continues as the PGTI Order of Merit leader with season’s earnings of ₹49,59,880. US-based Varun Chopra won the trophy for the best performing amateur as he closed the week in tied 26th at four-under 284.