Ajeetesh Sandhu wins maiden Asian Tour title in Taipei golf
Ajeetesh Sandhu joins a select league of Indian golfers who have won on Asian Tour. This list includes Arjun Atwal, Jyoti Randhawa, Gaganjeet Bhullar, Anirban Lahiri, Shiv Chawrasia and Jeev Milkha SinghUpdated: Oct 09, 2017 13:03 IST
Ajeetesh Sandhu, 29, displayed nerves of steel to clinch his maiden international title on the Asian Tour’s US$500,000 (Rs 3.2 crore aprox) Yeangder Tournament Players Championship in Taipei on Sunday.
Ajeetesh Sandhu (69-69-68-70), a day short of his birthday, managed to prevail over Johannes Veerman of the United States by one shot posting tournament total of 11-under-277. With this win, Sandhu took home the prize purse of US$90,000 (Rs 58 lakh aprox).
Chandigarh-lad Sandhu, the overnight joint leader, along with Veerman and local favourite Lu Wei-chih, came up with a dogged performance on the final day, sinking three birdies at the expense of a lone bogey during his rock-solid round of two-under-70.
“I’m still shaking from the last putt but now that I’m thinking about it, it is absolutely amazing. I thought I would be a lot more nervous than what I was but after Round 3, I had so much of support pouring in from India. So many people, including people I didn’t know were messaging me. That really calmed me down. I’m proud of myself that I was able to focus on my own game,” an elated Ajeetesh said after the win.
His father SMS Sandhu, who was instrumental in shaping his son’s career ever since Ajeetesh turned pro at the age of 19, was proud of his son’s tenacity.
“We had spoken to him yesterday as well and he seemed calm. He had said that he will try and not push beyond his limits. It’s a great day for us. We have been waiting for it and it’s great to see my son’s hard work paying off. We are elated,” said Ajeetesh’s father SMS Sandhu, adding, “I think he is already on his way to Japan where he is to play the next event.”
The pressure was indeed on Ajeetesh Sandhu with Veerman breathing down on his neck but the 28-year-old soaked up the pressure making pars on the last eight holes which included a sand save on the 15th.
Veerman (71) almost forced a play-off when his eagle chip on the 18th hole hit the pin but finally settled for the runner-up position.
Lu (72), the other contender in the final round, dropped a couple of bogeys on the last five holes to end up in third place, two shots behind the champion.
Ajeetesh Sandhu, who played a lot of golf alongside Anirban Lahiri and Gaganjeet Bhullar during his junior and amateur days, has now improved upon his previous best of third place on the Asian Tour which he achieved couple of months back at the TAKE Solutions Masters 2017.
Ajeetesh follows in Bhullar’s footsteps to become the second Indian to win the Yeangder TPC. The latter had won the event in 2012.
“He was in a great mood and reflecting back I can say that this was something we expected because as a golfer I know that he works hard and has good temperament. The win will ensure him a two-year exemption to play on the Asian Tour. Besides, he will get a chance to play in Japan, Europe and South Africa,” his father said.
First Published: Oct 09, 2017 11:35 IST