Bravo! Himmat gets first Asian title
Reeling off one bogey after another, Himmat Rai appeared to be heading towards self-destruction, a route he has traversed quite frequently after setting sight on a title.other Updated: Sep 12, 2011 00:12 IST
Reeling off one bogey after another, Himmat Rai appeared to be heading towards self-destruction, a route he has traversed quite frequently after setting sight on a title.
But Sunday was destined to be different. Making light of the three bogeys, the 24-year-old caught up with the leadergroup at the Handa Singapore Classic — the eagle on the 13th playing a major hand in the revival — and went on to force a tie in the $300,000 event.
The five-way playoff was a first on the Asian Tour and Himmat ensured he was the last man standing, pipping Filipino Elmer Salvador to the $47,550 (Rs 22 lakh) prize cheque after holing a monstrous 25-foot putt on the sixth extra hole.
The relief of breaking the voodoo was immense and the normally reticent figure broke into a rare display of emotion.
The arms spread-eagled, the strapping golfer let out a roar of relief as shadows lengthened at the Orchid Country Club.
"I can't believe that I've pulled it off. I was just trying to improve my score (he was four back on the back nine) and the playoff was splendid. I stuck to my routine and am thoroughly pleased with my finish," said Himmat.
"I knew I had to close it before things got out of hand (with darkness approaching). That putt, sometimes when you're under pressure, you tend to rush it but I thought if I don't close it, the game would go otherwise. I was lucky it went in.
Himmat's win marks the fourth title by an Indian on the international circuit this season. At the start of the year, Gaganjeet Bhullar won the Gujarat Kensville Challenge (European Challenge Tour), which was followed by SSP Chowrasia's dream run at the Avantha Masters (European Tour). Anirban Lahiri captured his maiden Tour title at the Panasonic Open.