Akshay registers five-shot win in PGTI Players Championship, Karandeep finishes runner-up

Chandigarh’s Akshay Sharma registered a resounding five-shot victory with a final round of five-under-67 at the TATA Steel PGTI Players Championship 2020 here on Saturday.

The 30-year-old Akshay captured his second title in style with a tally of 24-under-264 which also equalled the record for the lowest winning total on the PGTI previously jointly held by Anirban Lahiri and Rashid Khan.

Karandeep Kochhar, also hailing from Chandigarh, carded an error-free 67 to maintain his overnight second position. He totalled 19-under-269 at the Rs 30 lakh event, the first tournament to be staged on the PGTI in eight months.

Pune-based Udayan Mane shot the day’s joint best round of 66 to claim tied third place at 14-under-274 along with Bengaluru’s Chikkarangappa (69).

Udayan thus extended his lead in the PGTI Order of Merit and is set to move up in the world rankings from his current 290th position.

Yuvraj Singh Sandhu, another Chandigarh golfer, finished fifth at 11-under-277 after he carded a last round of 67.

Akshay (64-66-67-67), the overnight leader by a massive five shots, got off to a terrific start with an eagle on the third where he holed his second shot from 75 yards.

A bogey followed for him on the next hole but he quickly negated that with birdies on the fifth and sixth where he landed his shots inside two feet of the flag.

Akshay, leading by five at the turn, was unrelenting on the back-nine too as he picked up three more birdies till the 16th, including one on the par-4 11th where he drove the green.

He finally bogeyed the last hole and missed out on setting a new record for the lowest winning total on the PGTI. Interestingly, Akshay dropped just two bogeys and one double-bogey during the week.

Akshay, who won his first professional trophy at the QA InfoTech Open in Noida in 2018, took home the winner’s cheque worth Rs. 4,84,950 and as a result climbed from 29th to fourth place in the PGTI Order of Merit.

“I was quite relaxed from the very outset today. I knew that I just had to make regulations to stay ahead. Then the eagle on the third made things easier for me,” an elated Akshay said.

“Importantly, I had worked on my weakness, my temperament, during the three months lockdown period when the courses were closed. That seems to be paying off because today I played with a very cool mind and didn’t feel much pressure.”

Among others, Gurugram’s Veer Ahlawat fired the day’s joint best 66 to secure tied sixth place at 10-under-278 along with Kolkata’s Viraj Madappa (71).

Chandigarh’s Amrit Lal (68) was eighth at nine-under-279 while Patna’s Aman Raj (67) was a further shot back in ninth.

Delhi’s Rashid Khan (74) finished tied 25th place at one-under-287.