Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Yuvraj Singh Sandhu clinches maiden title in style with dominating final round of 64 at IndianOil SERVO Masters Golf 2021

Sandhu records lowest winning total in Digboi for thumping six-shot victory margin, moves up to sixth in TATA Steel PGTI Order of Merit

M Dharma is runner-up

fter knocking on the door several times earlier this season, Chandigarh’s Yuvraj Singh Sandhu finally pushed the door open by clinching his maiden title on the TATA Steel PGTI in style with a dominating final round performance of eight-under 64 at the Rs. 60 lakh IndianOil SERVO Masters Golf 2021.

Sandhu’s (66-68-67-64) tournament tally of 23-under 265 set the record for the lowest winning total at the Digboi Golf Links on Saturday as he registered a thumping six-shot victory with Bengaluru’s M Dharma (69-68-68-66) finishing runner-up at 17-under 271 following his last round of six-under 66.

The 24-year-old Yuvraj, the overnight leader by two shots, came up with an eagle, eight birdies and two bogeys in round four to pick up the winning cheque worth Rs. 9,69,900 and thus zoom from 11th place to sixth position in the PGTI Order of Merit for 2020-2021 with his season’s earnings moving to a total of Rs. 33,69,400.

Sandhu, the son of an Army officer, had enjoyed an exceptional season prior to landing in Digboi with nine previous top-10s including six in the last seven events. The two-time winner on the PGTI Feeder Tour began the day with a bogey on the first but soon regained ground with birdies on the third, fifth and seventh. He chipped-in on the fifth.

From the third till the eighth hole, M Dharma was breathing down Yuvraj’s neck as the former sank five birdies to trail the latter by just one shot. However, a couple of erratic shots led to Dharma’s double-bogey on the ninth.

Sandhu then made a crucial chip-putt birdie on the 11th to seize the momentum as he got on a hot streak making three birdies, an eagle and a birdie on the next five holes that stretched his lead to seven shots and sealed the deal for him. Yuvraj, the 2019 PGTI Feeder Tour Order of Merit champion, produced two excellent drives, a 30-feet conversion and two 10-feet conversions during his dream run from the 11th to the 16th.

Sandhu’s bogey on the 17th didn’t change the equation as his nearest rival Dharma was a fair distance away with just three birdies on the back-nine. Yuvraj’s 23-under 265 bettered the previous lowest winning total of 20-under 268 at the Digboi Golf Links achieved by Mukesh Kumar in 2002, Shankar Das in 2015 and Honey Baisoya in 2016.

Yuvraj, the leader for the previous two days, said, “I started with the same feeling as the first three days but Dharma played some phenomenal golf on the first eight holes and he gave me a tough time on the front-nine. But on the back-nine I got the reins back and took control.

“I’ve let my clubs do the talking, all the hard work I’ve put in is paying off. I can’t be more thankful to my team consisting of my coach and physio. They’ve all been part of this process. It’s a special moment for me and I want to treasure it. I want to let it sink in and get my tub of ice cream to celebrate.

“Once I’m back on the course, I want to keep doing things in a similar fashion since it’s working for me. I’m now looking forward to the next few events as the hunger to win is still there.

“I had a tricky start so the birdie on the third was crucial to get back into the game. Similarly, the birdie on the 11th set up the momentum for the terrific run on the back-nine. After the eagle on the 15th, I knew I had it in the bag but still wanted to see how low can I go and that explained my aggressive approach till the end.

“Winning before on the Feeder Tour did help me today. I said to myself that if I’ve done it before, why not today.

“I picked up golf as a little kid in the North-East while my father was posted in Dimapur, Nagaland. So coming to the North-East is always nostalgic for me. Now winning in the North-East further strengthens my special connection with the region,” added Sandhu, who’s 64 was also the day’s best score.

Delhi’s Sachin Baisoya (66) matched his career-best finish of tied third as he totaled 15-under 273 for the week.

Om Prakash Chouhan (70) of Mhow also claimed tied third place along with Baisoya.

Chandigarh’s Harendra Gupta (69) finished fifth at 14-under 274.

Local golfer Deepraj Chetia (69-71-72-76) took tied 33rd place at even-par 288.

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