Shankar Das secures runner-up position, leads Rolex Rankings
Digboi, Assam, November 22, 2014: Delhi’s Shamim Khan wrapped up his 10th title in style after easing to a five-shot victory in the final round of the IndianOil Servo Masters Golf 2014 at the Digboi Golf Links. Shamim signed off with a rock-solid one-under-71 in round four of the Rs. 30 lakh PGTI event to finish with a tournament total of 13-under-275. Kolkata’s Shankar Das, who finished runner-up at eight-under-280 after returning an ordinary four-over-76 on Saturday, went past Rashid Khan to emerge leader in the Rolex Rankings.
Shamim Khan (69-69-66-71), the overnight joint leader along with Shankar Das, had a slow start to the day as he bogeyed the first after pulling his tee shot into the rough. However, the 36-year-old from the Delhi Golf Club soon found himself three shots ahead as his nearest challenger Shankar dropped four shots on the first three holes on a windy and overcast day.
Shamim then produced an exceptional chip to help himself to a tap-in birdie on the seventh. Khan’s bogey on the ninth didn’t derail his efforts as he came back with a chip-in, his second of the week, for birdie on the 10th. He all but sealed the title with another brilliant chip on the 14th that led to a birdie.
As a result of his win, Shamim has now climbed from 22nd place to 15th position in the Rolex Rankings.
Shamim said, “The conditions were totally different today with the wind being a major factor. After Shankar and Karan dropped shots early, I looked to play steady and maintain my lead. I played some immaculate chip shots to set up birdies in round four. I would like to dedicate this win to my caddie Satya Prakash who got me my old putter from Delhi especially for this week’s event. The putter made a big difference at the end as I converted most putts on the last two days.”
“It’s a tremendous comeback for me after having missed the cut at last week’s event in Shillong. I hadn’t enjoyed much success in the season till last week. This performance has helped me regain my form. I’ve won after a gap of 20 months and now feel I can finish the season on a high. The fact that I finally won at Digboi after finishing runner-up on more than one occasion, is also very heartening,” added Shamim, who pocketed his eighth title on the PGTI.
Shankar Das (65-69-70-76), the overnight joint leader along with Shamim, had a disastrous start to the day with two bogeys and a double-bogey on the first three holes thanks to some erratic tee shots. His woes off the tee continued as he found the trees on the eighth to drop another shot and slip further.
Das displayed a lot of grit on the back-nine as he came back with chip-putt birdies on the 11th and 14th to regain some lost ground. He bogeyed the 17th but still ensured runner-up place to move up from second to first place in the Rolex Rankings.
The 31-year-old Shankar now leads the PGTI’s money list with earnings of Rs. 26,87,800 for the year so far. Rashid Khan is second on the list with earnings of Rs. 25,31,700.
Shankar said, “Once I lost my way on the first few holes, it was always going to be an uphill task to overhaul Shamim, who rarely lets the lead slip away. Nevertheless, I’m happy with the way I hung in there and managed a runner-up finish to take the lead in the Rolex Rankings.”
Bangalorean C Muniyappa’s final round 71 helped him claim third place at seven-under-281.
Sri Lankan N Thangaraja bagged fourth place at six-under-282 while Mohammad Sanju of Kolkata was a further shot back in fifth position.
Rookie Karan Taunk of Jamshedpur, who was overnight third, slipped to tied seventh after a round of 79 on Saturday. Taunk, however, is the clear favourite to win the Emerging Player of the Year race with a lead of Rs. 3 lakh over his nearest rival Rahul Bakshi.
Vikrant Chopra of the Noida Golf Course produced the day’s best score of 68 to secure tied 10th position at two-under-286.
Australian Kunal Bhasin, the 2013 IndianOil Servo Masters Golf champion, ended up in tied 30th at five-over-293.